In 2017, Verizon produced their annual Data Breach Investigations Report which revealed that just over 80% of breaches were due to the fact that weak or reused passwords were in place on the account and servers that cybercriminals eventually infiltrated.
This highlights the importance of adding a strong password manager on your password manager. The master password means you only need to remember one password, but can create and store very strong, unique passwords for all the accounts and services that you use. The best password management software solutions allow you easily create strong, random, almost impossible-to-remember passwords for all of your online accounts.
As the master password will be the main point of protection for all of your accounts, you need to ensure that your master password is as strong and secure as possible. After all, it is all that stands between an attacker and your password vault. If the master password is weak and easy to guess, it doesn’t matter how strong all of your other passwords are. If your master password is guessed, an attacker will have access to everything.
So what does it take to create a strong master password?
It is easy to create an incredibly strong master password using a long string of random characters, numbers, and symbols, but that password would be virtually impossible to remember. A better option is to use a passphrase. Passphrases are multiple words and characters connected to form a long and unique password. As it is a phrase, it will be longer that a collection of singular letters numbers and special characters, usually around 20-30 characters. The use of a phrase makes it much easier to remember, yet very difficult to guess, even using automated brute force tactics.
Some examples of strong master passphrases include:
A passphrase allows you to create an incredibly strong but easy to remember passphrase. Incorporating some symbols, numbers, or uppercase letters into the passphrase will increase password security further still.
General Password Advice for Creating Master Passwords
You may, when you are doing your research into establishing a strong master password, see advice that includes the following points:
- Don’t use the same password twice
- Use uppercase and lowercase letters
- Incorporate numbers and symbols
- Don’t use words from a dictionary
- Use at least 8 characters
- Don’t use personal information
Even if you use these guidelines you may still not be safe. For example Passw0rd123! could be created using these rules but it always features heavily in the lists of the most commonly used weak passwords. These weak passwords are included in the password lists used by hackers in brute force attacks.
You must ensure that you set a really strong unique master password and never use that password/passphrase on another account or application.
Create a Master Password Now
If you take this advice on board you should be in a position to create a master password for your password management solution that is virtually impossible to crack. Just make sure you enter your password carefully to avoid accidentally locking yourself out of the account management dashboard.