FBI Protip: How to Create The Perfect Password

Posted at 11:11 PM, Sep 22, 2016
and last updated 2016-09-23 00:12:24-04

In light of a massive Yahoo! cybersecurity hack, NewsChannel 5 wanted to find out how you can take action whether you have a Yahoo account or not.

We've all been told strong passwords are a big help, so we asked an FBI Cybersecurity Expert Special Agent Scott Augenbaum to show us how to create the perfect password.

Augenbaum said too many people use the same password for several different accounts, including bank sign-ins, social media accounts and email.  Augenbaum said the problem with that, is if a hacker gets your password from one account, the hacker can now access any other account online where you use the same password.

Your best defense, the FBI said, is to create strong, different passwords for each of your accounts.

But how do you do that, while being able to remember them all? Here's a helpful tip straight from the FBI:

1. The key is to think of a passphrase for each account instead of a password.

Example: "I can never remember my facebook password."

2. Think of that phrase as you type the first letter of each word in it:

Example: Icnrmfp

3. Come up with a secret number and a special character (You can use this number and special character combination across all your different passwords).

Example: 5$

4. Start your password with that constant number/special character, then add the letters of your passphrase you came up with, then reverse your secret number/special character combination:

5$Icnrmfp$5 -- The FBI says this is an example of a strong password.

For your email account, a passphrase example could be: I send many emails every day.

The password for that would be: 5$Ismeed$5

The FBI said you should not type all your passphrases on your phone or a computer.  Instead, do what you've probably been told not to do in the past: write down the passphrases (not the complete passwords) on paper and hide them somewhere, like on a certain page in your favorite book in your bookcase, so you'll always know where to find them if you need them.