Email this Article Email   

CHIPS Articles: How to Create a Secure Password

How to Create a Secure Password
By U.S. Marine Corps Capt. Daniel J. Putnam, Naval OPSEC Support Team Public Affairs - October 31, 2016
NORFOLK (NNS) -- We use passwords to protect ourselves online. It's important to ensure that this protection is as strong as possible.

Most users access websites with usernames and passwords. It can get frustrating trying to make and remember passwords that fit the myriad requirements of each website. However, there are a few key concepts to remember that will help you make your passwords, and subsequently your information, more secure.

It may sound simple, but the longer your password is, the more secure it is. Many sites require passwords to be between eight and sixteen characters, with upper case, lower case, numbers and special characters. As a result, many users make their password only eight characters. However, a sixteen character password is always more secure than an eight character password, no matter which characters are used. A password is considered more secure based on how easy it is to crack.

It's incredibly important to use unique passwords for each different online account. You should not use the same password to secure your bank account as you use to secure your social media sites and email. If you use the same password for multiple accounts, an attacker who compromises one account can compromise more of your accounts. When you use unique passwords, you limit the ability of an attacker to access and compromise your accounts and information. It may be harder to remember more passwords, but it is much more secure to remember longer, less complex passwords, than one short password that is more complex.

Don't store your passwords in a place that is easily accessible. Many people are tempted to store passwords in a document on their computer. However, this is an extremely unsafe practice because of how easily computer files can be accessed. If you have to keep your passwords somewhere, it is safer to write them on a piece of paper and store that paper in a secure location, like a safe. Do not keep passwords written down near your computer or in an area that other people readily have access to.

Passwords should not be easily associated with your identity. Though it is easy to associate a password with something important to you, like a birthday or pet's name, this information is often readily available on the internet and social media. Try to disassociate your passwords with your identity to prevent an adversary from easily accessing your accounts.

A common method for creating a complex and long password is by using a keyboard walk. This involves creating a password by using a repetitive pattern on a keyboard. However, computer programs can be easily trained to recognize patterns. Additionally, a common password can be easily figured out by an attacker.

Remember, passwords are essential to improving our cybersecurity posture. Adversaries and criminals are constantly trying to access the information that your passwords secure. Make sure to do your part by creating long, unique passwords. This simple act is one of the best ways to prevent cyber attackers from accessing your information.

For more information, visit,, or

MILLINGTON Tenn. (July 22, 2011) Chief Operations Specialist Tonye Golston reviews job assignments in Career Management System/Interactive Detailing. Golston is a detailer at Navy Personnel Command, which generates permanent change of station orders for more than 328,000 active-duty Sailors. U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Andrea Smithluedke/Released
Related CHIPS Articles
Related DON CIO News
Related DON CIO Policy

CHIPS is an official U.S. Navy website sponsored by the Department of the Navy (DON) Chief Information Officer, the Department of Defense Enterprise Software Initiative (ESI) and the DON's ESI Software Product Manager Team at Space and Naval Warfare Systems Center Pacific.

Online ISSN 2154-1779; Print ISSN 1047-9988
Hyperlink Disclaimer