Without a strong passcode, everything on your mobile device is accessible by anyone. That includes thieves, random co-workers, and local law enforcement officers and the FBI. Even if you only keep your mobile device secure in your pocket or at home, imagine the damage your child could do once they access your Amazon account. Adding a strong passcode is the best way to protect your privacy and keep your phone secured.
Not Just Any Passcode Will Do
Having an easy to guess passcode is almost as bad as not having one at all. This means you should never use things like dates, initials, or digits relating to your phone number. Names, initials, and dictionary words are other types of passwords to avoid. Replacing certain letters with numbers or adding special characters to the word is not enough to keep your code secure.
Make it Long
Short passcodes are incredibly easy to hack, even without tools. Passwords of at least 10 characters are ideal, though some security experts recommend using character counts as high as 12 or 16. Android users can set passwords of up to 16-digits automatically. If you have an iOS device, tap the settings icon and then:
- Tap the “General” settings icon
- Once in this menu, choose “Passcode Lock”
- Tap “Turn Passcode On” or, if you already have a code enabled, enter it
- Toggle the “Simple Passcode” option to “Off,” and enter your current passcode
- Type in your new, strong passcode when prompted
- After hitting “Next,” enter the passcode again to confirm
Create a Phrase
Start by thinking of a sentence that is meaningful and easy for you to remember. For example, you could use the phrase:
I love reading and writing
Next, convert the phrase into a secure code using letters (both upper and lowercase), special characters, and numbers:
While this is not impossible to hack, it is much more secure than a simple four-digit passcode. You can also use the Person-Action-Object method to come up with a memorable passcode. With this approach, you select a memorable person and a memorable place or object. Connect these two words with a random action and, as with the memorable sentence technique, convert it into a secure code. For example, if you picked Beyonce, eating mashed potatoes and the Golden Gate Bridge, your passcode might turn into “b0ncA!mshpGG8bdg.”
Use a Password Manager
Using a password manager is a great way to come up with random passwords or to test the strength of an existing one you are using. Unlike free websites, these apps are secure. They can also let you know if your passcode is derived from an easily recognizable phrase, such as a Bible passage. One of the best is KeePass, which does not use cloud-based storage, offering you additional security.
Regardless of which method you use, make sure that you store your passcode in a safe place, offline, so it stays secure.