Creating strong crypto passwords is essential for protecting your digital assets. However, if you don’t take the time to create a strong password, you could be putting your cryptocurrencies at risk! This guide will walk you through the steps necessary to develop a strong crypto password. We will also discuss some best practices for keeping your passwords safe and secure. Follow these tips, and rest assured that your digital assets are safe and sound!
Let’s face it; passwords can be a pain to create and keep on top of – especially when you consider that you should have a different password for everything you do online. But when it comes to your cryptocurrencies, you must take the time to create a strong and unique password. If you don’t, you could be risking your hard-earned money!
Creating Strong Crypto Passwords
Creating strong passwords for crypto wallets and exchanges is essential, as these accounts contain valuable information and assets. However, many people still use weak passwords, which leaves them vulnerable to attack.
Cryptocurrency is decentralized and very secure because of blockchain technology. However, any chain is only as strong as the weakest link. Fortunately, the weakest link is often the passwords people use to protect their assets, meaning users have the answer to stay safe.
Think for a second; why have a seed phrase and keep it as safe as we do to use a poor password?
Why is it so important to use strong passwords? Because if someone was able to hack your account and steal your cryptocurrencies, they could potentially disappear forever. There’s no guarantee that you would be able to get your money back, even if you did manage to track down the thief.
Why Should you have Different Passwords for each Website or Asset?
One of the best ways to protect your digital assets is to use different passwords for each website or asset. If you use the same password for multiple websites, it only takes one breach for someone to gain access to all of your accounts.
Using unique passwords for your cryptocurrency wallets and exchanges is also important. If someone could hack into one of your accounts and gain access to your private keys, they would have control of all the cryptocurrencies in that wallet. However, if you have the same password for multiple accounts, the hackers could (and probably would) gain access to every account using the same password.
And while it is not something we like to think about, a data breach from one website could see all of your assets taken from your exchange accounts or any other crypto wallet you use – if you do not use secure passwords.
How to Create Good Passwords
So, how can you create a strong crypto password? The best way is to combine letters, numbers, and symbols. You should also ensure that your password is at least twelve characters long.
When creating a password for your crypto accounts, you should follow these best practices:
Use a mix of lowercase and uppercase letters, numbers, and symbols
When creating your password, use a mix of lowercase and uppercase letters, numbers, and symbols, making it more difficult for hackers to guess your password.
However, hackers are people with high analytic ability who analyze how a user will create passwords. Therefore, they know that, even if a password contains uppercase letters, lowercase letters, and symbols, it is likely to look something like this:
Capital letters are ingrained into us, taught from a very young age that they go at the beginning of a sentence or word. Numbers and symbols are additions that we have included into the password requirement, so we add them at the end.
As a bit of food for thought, the password: Myname123$ (exactly as it is) would take around five minutes for a hacker to crack.
Avoid Using Easily Guessed Words or Personal Information
Another thing you should avoid when creating passwords is using easily guessed words or personal information. For example, your name, address, or date of birth are the first things hackers try to guess when trying to access your accounts.
Instead, use a combination of letters, numbers, and symbols to create a password that is difficult to guess. However, as you have seen above, words are pretty simple for hackers (and their computers) to guess. Even something that has nothing directly related to you can have a pretty low guess time. For example:
This password would take ~2.3 seconds to crack.
Make sure your password is at least 12 characters long
Password credentials have a lot to do with length. So, as soon as we increase the length to 12 characters, even if they are words and symbols in easy-to-guess formats like above, they become less prone to theft. For example:
MynameStarwars1977! – (19 characters)
We have now increased the time to crack the password to ~7 hours.
Spread out Numbers and Symbols
Next, you can look at the placement of your special characters and numbers. Keeping in line with the above example, we can change the password to:
By adding the symbol in the middle of the password, we have increased the crack time to ~3 days.
Now think about what you could do to increase the time for such a simple password:
- MyName$Starwars1977! – ~6 days
- MyNme$Starwars1977! – ~3 Months
- MyNme$St@rwars1977! – ~ 10 months
- MyNme$St@rwarsI977! – ~ 26 years (using a capital i for a 1)
- MyNme$St@rwarsL977! – ~ 626 years
- MyNme$St@rwrsL977! – ~ 2 billion years
What Does a Bad Password Look Like?
Honestly, even though we have provided the above example using a name and a well know film and shown that you can make it into a good password, there is still too much personal information in the password.
Although I think we can all agree that using something like the following is never a good idea:
- qwertyuiop – 0.24 seconds!
- Password123! – 0 seconds
- Letmeinnow – 0.06 seconds – even LetMeInNow would only take ~4 seconds to crack.
- JohnDoe1990! – ~6 minutes
Always try to stay away from simple passwords!
What Do Secure Passwords Look Like?
Some of the examples we have provided above will give you some ideas. However, well-known names of films, football clubs, or current trends are never a good idea. So instead, use the example in the following steps to help you create a great password you can remember.
- Think of something you like (not a pet’s name or similar).
- Iloveeatingpizza – this will already take 2 hours to crack, and it is not something always easy to find out about you.
- Add capitals throughout the password.
- ILoveEatingPizza – we are now at 16 hours.
- Add some numbers.
- 1L0veEatingP1zza – 3 days.
- Add special characters.
- 1L0<3E@tingP1zza – 74 centuries!
- Remove some letters.
- 1L0<3E@tngP1za – 2 billion years!
Now we have a password that is almost impossible to crack and pretty difficult to forget.
Remember, though, that using a generator on a password manager will create even more secure passwords and save them, too! For example, a generated password from Bitwarden (26 characters using upper and lower case letters, numbers, and symbols) looks something like this:
^2ayR8p5Xs@vj4hLRBgf@n!xLx – 81 thousand trillion-trillion years (1 quattuordecillion, or 10^45, or 1,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 years).
How to Store Your Passwords
Storing your passwords is another thing that you need to think about. Again, you have a few options, each with benefits and drawbacks. Therefore, it is often down to preference. We will now look through some of the primary options you have to store your (now) secure passwords.
Use a Password Manager to Help Keep Track of Your Passwords
Password managers act like digital wallets for your passwords and will keep all of your passwords stored behind one single password and some extra protection if you enable it.
Using a manager such as Bitwarden on Mac offers a 3-tier level of protection:
- The password that you created in the steps above.
- 2FA from another app such as Google Authenticator.
- Fingerprint scanner.
Also, the manager will create passwords and store them for you for each website, and you can use astronomically large passwords without the worry of remembering them. For example, the largest password you can create is a mix of 128 uppercase letters, lowercase letters, numbers, and symbols:
Nb73tu!9nA6GsHY6Ta*w@wPXTk8HyQMSYdM3VyUgzjb!ufiHHDBsFa$zRMm6uA^LsxPrCmhs$8oMSr!oAyG3jkMVHMKXkch8^7wUScxtWUywu@D^ou&58C^vA!XZ5kBh – 497 trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion years to crack.
However, a data breach of your email address and password (if you don’t use 2FA) can leave all of your passwords vulnerable.
Pros of using password managers
- Password managers can create and store strong passwords for you.
- They can help you to keep track of all your passwords, so you don’t have to remember them all.
- They can make logging into websites and apps much more straightforward.
- Password managers have built-in security features, such as two-factor authentication.
Cons of using a password manager
The main downside of using a password manager is that if your master password is compromised, all your other passwords are as well. Another potential downside is that some password managers may be less secure than others.
Write them in a Book
Keeping a book protected in a safe place with all your passwords is very good for security. But again, there are pros and cons of using a physical book for all of your passwords:
- Physical books are not connected to the internet, so they cannot be hacked.
- You can create your own system of organization that is easy for you to remember.
- Books can be kept in a safe place.
- If somebody gains access to your book, they will have all of your passwords.
- A physical book can get lost or stolen easily.
- A physical book is not a good idea if you have a lot of passwords.
- You need to get the book out and copy the password every time you need to login somewhere.
- One accident (spillage, fire, etc.) will destroy all of your passwords.
Use a USB Storage Device
You also have the option to keep all of your passwords in a single location by using a USB device such as a thumb drive. Again, there are pros and cons to this option, such as:
- USB drives are not connected to the internet, so they cannot be hacked.
- You can create your own system of organization that is easy for you to remember.
- USB drives can be kept in a safe place.
- You can encrypt a USB drive and unlock it with a password whenever you need it.
- If somebody gains access to your USB drive, they will have all your passwords (unless you encrypt them).
- A USB drive can get lost or stolen easily.
- You must get the thumb drive out and copy the password whenever you log in.
How Long Does it Take Hackers to Guess Passwords?
You might be surprised that hackers can instantly Brute Force an eleven characters long password (numbers only). And, if your password is only seven characters long, even a mixture of numbers, uppercase, and lowercase letters and symbols, a hacker can access it in under a minute.
Hive Systems has created a nice visual that can help you see how long Brute Force takes for different combinations. Read about it here.
While not a perfect match to the table in that post, the examples I have used in this article were taken from https://www.passwordmonster.com, where you can find out roughly how good your passwords are.
Extra Tips for Crypto Passwords
While we have covered most of these points already, it is worth recapping them:
- First, always use two-factor authentication where available.
- Use password managers
- Password length is your friend
- Use uppercase and lowercase letters, numbers, and symbols
- Never give your password to anyone
- Check your password strength
- Do not reuse passwords
- Do not click on links if you are unsure
- Use antivirus software
- Use passphrases to help you remember
- Never use personal information in passwords
Some interesting facts taken from a study from Forbes are:
- More than 50% of people use the same password across multiple sites
- Nearly 15% of people use the same password for all accounts
- Over 80% of all data breaches come from poor passwords
- Almost two-thirds of people understand the risk of reusing passwords but do it anyway.
It is clear that to create a strong crypto password; one needs to be mindful of the various factors involved. Following the tips in this article and using a password manager and two-factor authentication when available can help ensure your account remains safe from hackers.