How to Choose a Good Password


2016 was a huge year for high-profile security breaches, there couldn’t be a better time to ensure your online accounts are under complete control. In this blog, we’re going to teach you how to choose a good password.

Obviously if we were to provide you with the ‘ultimate password’ that password would immediately become unsecure. Therefore, the aim of this blog is to provide you with the best techniques for generating your own ‘ultimate password’.

How to choose a good password

What Makes a Bad Password?

Perhaps the first step to learning how to choose a good password is to understand what makes a bad password. A bad password is any password that is too easy for humans/ computers to guess, or too hard for you to remember. The Telegraph compiled a list of the world’s most common passwords, the top 5 are:

  • 123456
  • 123456789
  • qwerty
  • 12345678
  • 111111

A bad password can also be a password that is too hard to remember. The purpose of a password is to restrict access to your online accounts. If you can’t remember your password then you’ve restricted access completely. The key is to create a password that is easy to remember, but hard to guess

How to Choose a Good Password

A good password should follow 4 basic rules:

  • Use at least 8 characters
  • Include both upper and lower case characters
  • Include numbers (and if allowed, symbols and spaces)
  • Do not use a word that can be found in the dictionary

There are lots of techniques for choosing a good password, here are some of our favorites:

The Diceware method

A string of words can generate a strong password, however passwords such as ‘Cat in the hat’ are weak because they’re a common phrase. The key to generating a strong password is to create a string of words that aren’t in a grammatically correct order. For example, “Otter glass higher red”.

The website ‘Diceware’ helps you create a strong password by generating random words on a dice roll. We recommend you use Diceware to generate a string of words and then include capitalization and numbers to add an extra layer of security.

The PAO method

The PAO method generates a memorable password using a place-person-object formula. Firstly, picture an interesting place (Westminster). Next, visualize a photo of a famous person (Kanye West). Afterwards, envision an object with an accompanying action. Lastly, place the words together to create a phrase (Kanye West driving a fish bowl at Westminster).

The PAO method accesses your cognitive memory to help you store your password. You can now add numbers, capitalization and remove characters to produce a very strong password, for example ‘Kye12WstDriFiBowl56wstmtr’ (don’t use this password for obvious reasons).

Keeping Your Password Safe

Knowing how to choose a good password is useless if you don’t keep that password safe. We recommend you never write down your passwords on a physical piece of paper. Instead we propose you use an online password manager. Programs such as Passpack or Dashlane are completely free and enable you to encrypt all your passwords.

If you have found this information useful, you may be interested in our other security consultancy services. Click here to find out more about our IT security consultancy or

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