If you utilize a password manager or are thinking about using one, creating a master password is one of the first and most important steps you’ll have to take in setting it up. But how exactly do you create a strong one? To create a strong master password you should make the password unique, long and obscure. Continue reading to learn more tips for creating a strong master password and how to create one that you’ll remember.
What is a Master Password?
A master password is the only password you need to remember to access your password vault, which contains all your passwords saved in your password manager. A master password acts as a wall between you and all the sensitive files and passwords in your vault, which makes creating a password that is both strong and easy for you to remember extremely important in keeping all your credentials and files secure.
Tips for Creating a Strong Master Password
Here are a few tips you can use when creating your master password:
Make your password unique
Creating a password that is unique simply means staying away from using a simple word, name, phone number or address that is available to others. A unique password also means not reusing the same password you use for other accounts.
Make your password long
Make sure your password is at least 16 characters long. The shorter your password, the shorter the amount of time anyone will need to crack it.
Use a combination of letters, numbers and symbols
When creating your master password, you never want to stick to only letters or only numbers, you want to include a combination of them all. It’s also important to note that you should include both lowercase and uppercase letters.
For example, instead of having your password be Hello!IamJodine, you can try H3ll!I@mJ0d1n3.
Don’t include personal information
Including Personally Identifiable Information (PII) in your master password can be tempting, but be careful to not make this mistake. Nowadays, all of our information is on the internet and people can find out things about you simply by looking at your social media accounts. They can find the name of your dog, the name of your mother, your birthdate and more. This is why it is extremely important that you never include information in your master password that directly relates to you. Doing this makes it easy for a cybercriminal to crack your password.
Make your password obscure
Creating a master password that is obscure means creating one that no one would ever be able to guess. An obscure password is one that is completely randomized and one that would not make sense to anyone but you. Making sure that your password is obscure after following the steps above is vital in creating a strong master password.
Remembering Your Master Password
Your master password shouldn’t be the same as any other password that you have created, and should never be written down or stored anywhere but your own mind. Following the above tips when creating your master password will ensure that the password you create is strong, but how exactly are you going to remember a password that includes combinations of letters, numbers and symbols? Here are two tips you can use when creating your master password to make it easier for you to remember.
A passphrase is when you create a phrase in your password. For example, you can use the phrase “I like ice cream” and incorporate it into your password. Of course, the phrase should not be the only thing that makes up your password, you’ll want to incorporate the tips above when creating it. You can change the phrase into something such as “i_1ik3|c3Cr3@m$!”. This makes the passphrase obscure and makes it harder for cybercriminals to try to guess your master password.
Create an acronym
Another way that you can make it easier for you to remember your password is by creating an acronym to go along with it. There are two ways you can go about this. You can generate a password first through a password generator and create an acronym from it or you can create a complicated password first knowing what acronym you want to use.
For example, let’s say you want your acronym to relate to the phrase “Pumpkin spice season is here and I am so happy.” When creating your password you would take the first letter of each word and incorporate those letters into your password through the use of letters, symbols or numbers. An example of a password generated from this acronym would be “Ps$|h@i@Sh_”. You can add more symbols to further complicate the password and make it harder for others to guess.
When creating your master password, you might find yourself wondering whether or not it is strong enough. You can use a password generator to check just how strong it is. Double-checking that your master password is strong is an extra step you can take to ensure its security.
Updated October 21st, 2022.