Password Tips For More Secure Banking, Social Media

It seems like recently all I’ve done is advised people to change their passwords.  Friends have had their Messenger hacked, other friends are sending out spam emails.  Here’s the official Geek For Hire word on the subject:  You Can’t Change Your Passwords Too Frequently!  So, the big question is – how do you pick a good password?   We have several tips to follow here.

Whatever you do, don’t use any of these passwords!Common Password ListFirst, don’t make the password too easy to guess.  We like the recommendations in this Lifewire article.  Their first step is to pick a favorite phrase and turn it into an acronym.  Here are some examples from their article:

  • “You know nothing, Jon Snow: yknjs
  • Can’t See the Forest Through the Trees:  cstfttt
  • If the Shoe Fits, Wear It:  itsfwi
  • The Last Mile Is Always Uphill: tlmiau
  • Honey Badger Doesn’t Care: hbdc

Passwords should be AT LEAST eight (8) characters long and those are all to short.  You could use something like:

“The Quick brown fox jumped over the lazy dog” or tqbfjotld which is nine characters.

The next tip is use letters, numbers, and special characters.  A study done a few years ago estimated that a password with six alphanumeric characters would take a computer 103 years to crack.  Eight characters, including special characters like “@”, “%”, and “#”, would make it that much harder, and take much longer, to crack.

My recommendation for a good password?

Take a favorite phrase and turn it into an acronym:

“So long, and thanks for all the fish”  =  “slatfatf”

Then, add a capital letter, a number, and a special character so that

“slatfatf” becomes “S1@tFatf”

Longer is always better.  If the website allows you to use more than eight characters, please do!

You could then add “Hitchhikers Guide To The Galaxy” or hgttg” to the end (or beginning) of “slatfatf”.  Your password could then become “S1@tFatf*hGttG”

Play with different passwords that will work for you and keep them in a password protected document on your computer or in the “cloud”.  Another trick I use is to type the new password into my (password protected) document, then I’ll copy and paste it into the password field of the website I am accessing.  That way I’ll be sure not to have any typos.

One final word from David Balaban, computer security expert, as quoted in

It is recommended to use the longest possible passwords that online services allow and leverage a reputable password management solution to store them. Furthermore, you should safeguard the vault with a master passphrase that’s about 30 characters long. Make sure it’s not a quote from a novel or anything that can be found on the internet. Importantly, all of your passwords should be generated randomly and make little sense, or no sense at all. If you can remember it and tell it to someone, it’s not a good password.”


Chris Eddy of Geek For Hire, Inc. has been providing computer service to families and small businesses with Mac’s and PC’s for the past fifteen years. His company is highly rated by both the BBB (Better Business Bureau) and by Angie’s List. You can find more on our website, or give us a call 303-618-0154. Geek For Hire, Inc. provides onsite service (Tier 3) to the Denver / Boulder / Front Range area as well as remote service throughout North America.

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