January 17, 2023

How to stay safe online by using strong passwords

Written by kevin-c

Online Safety

This is meant for you (yes, you, the one reading this right now): It's a great time to change your passwords.

It shouldn’t take a hacking or phishing attempt for you to remember to do a security check. After all, doing it afterwards can be too little too late.

You should change your passwords every so often to keep your most important accounts safe, and there’s no time like the present right? So, let’s go through some basic hints and tips to keep your passwords safe.

Password managers take the headache out of online safety

Regular users of Google’s Chrome browser will have almost certainly run across Chrome asking if you want to save your password on a site, and you may see similar features on other popular browsers these days like Firefox and Safari. Chrome has an excellent Password Manager built in. It stores passwords to the Google Account you’re signed into Chrome with, so you don’t have to keep them on a dozen sticky notes like it’s 2002 or something.

Even better, Chrome will generate passwords for you. These passwords are literally a random string of letters and numbers, like this: JHANFm@g3KvYejc. The chance of someone accidentally typing that, or guessing it, is basically zero.

With this method, you generate a different password for every site, making it much safer than using the same password for everything.

How to create your own good password

Let’s say you want to do things the old school way and come up with your own password. You should keep these things in mind:

  • Make passwords at least 12 characters long

  • Use a combination of letters, numbers, and special characters

  • Avoid familiar terms and dates

  • Regularly change passwords

While a lot of people (maybe even most) tend to use numbers and dates that are meaningful to them – birthdays, wedding anniversaries – you should avoid these as they are far too easy to guess.

Ideally, a password should be something completely random. Three randomly chosen words – let's say car, hat, and baby.

So, take those words and add some special characters, like this: Car!hatb@by.

I stuck an exclamation point after car, and turned the “a” in baby to an @ symbol. Presto! A 12-letter password that has no relation to anything (and is hence unguessable) and is reasonably secure.

More tips to keep your password secure

Use different passwords for each app or website. In other words, don’t reuse passwords.

Don’t use these passwords at all, as they’re the most used passwords as of 2022.

  • 123456789

  • 123456

  • qwerty

  • password

  • 12345

  • qwerty123

  • 1q2w3e

  • 12345678

  • 111111

  • 1234567890

And since you’re here on the TextNow blog, here’s how to change your TextNow password when it’s time for an update.