3 Steps to Strong Passwords You Can Remember

in First Person: Our Blog, Security

As your trusted banking partner, helping protect your financial and personal information is one of our top priorities. While First Internet Bank is working to keep your information safe and secure, it’s a good idea to do your part too — by being smart about your passwords. Think of passwords as the house keys to your online accounts. Just like real keys, when they’re stolen, intruders can break in and wreak havoc.

To create strong passwords, you have to strike a balance between making them difficult for others to guess and making them easy enough for you to remember. Follow best password practices and avoid simple ones like “123456” and “password” or using personal information such as a birthdate, college name or address. So how SHOULD you formulate a strong password?

  • Start with a sentence
    With passwords, longer is better. One way to come up with a lengthy password that’s easy to remember is to use a sentence. Create a sentence that’s memorable but doesn’t have identifying details related to you. Avoid using personal information like names of pets or family members. Be creative and have some fun with it! For example, “Cats do not like cucumbers.” Take out the spaces to get “Catsdonotlikecucumbers.” This password’s length and non-personal information provides great protection.
  • Avoid using real words
    Using dictionary words makes your password easier to guess. Change your sentence by removing all the vowels, or by using only the first one or two letters of each word. Using the earlier example, “Catsdonotlikecucumbers.” becomes “cadonolicu” if you’re using the first two letters of every word in that sentence.
  • Mix in numbers, symbols and uppercase letters
    Employ a variety of characters in your password. Some websites have minimum character requirements like using at least one capital letter, one lowercase letter, a number and/or a special character. As you mix it up, try not to repeat letters, numbers or symbols right next to each other. By capitalizing some letters, replacing the “l” with an exclamation point and turning an “o” into a zero, “cadonolicu” from step two becomes “CaD0No!icU.”

Use a password manager

The steps above help when you’re creating one really strong password, but remembering a dozen or more such passwords might make your head spin. That’s why you might want to consider using a password manager program. A password manager is an electronic vault that creates and stores long and complex passwords so you don’t have to remember them. The only password you need to remember is the one that unlocks the vault. Once you type that one, you can log into whatever online accounts you decide to keep on the password manager. There are free options available, but some features may require a fee.

If you don’t use a password manager, store passwords in an encrypted file on your computer. If you must write down your complex passwords, store them in a safe place like a locked cabinet so they don’t end up in the wrong hands. Part of protecting passwords is making them physically difficult to access in addition to being hard to guess.

If you think your First Internet Bank online banking password has been compromised, contact a Relationship Banker at 1-888-873-3424 immediately so we can assist you.

Guest author, NerdWallet 
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