What is a secure password?

Data security is like a chain: it is only as strong as its weakest link. 

That means the security of your data depends on a strong password that is not used anywhere else. Your password should be long and not a word that is found in a dictionary. It sounds difficult, but there are ways to simplify the process. 

Cozy Cloud’s customer service manager Claude interviewed two of our experts who are the most attuned to privacy issues: Tristan Nitot and Julien our Data Scientist share their tips for creating a strong password. 

TIPS #1

Claude: “Tristan, many of our users use the same password for all their accounts, which endangers their personal data. Can you tell us how you come up with – and remember – a strong password?”

Tristan Nitot: “Just start by taking a sentence that you will remember easily, for example the first verse of ‘I will survive’:  ‘At first I was afraid, I was petrified, kept thinking I could never live without you by my side.’ I take the initials and the punctuation and drop all the rest, including the spaces, which gives me this:  ‘Afiwa,Iwp,ktIcnlwybms.’ The result is a 21-letter password that includes capital letters, lowercase letters, and punctuation. The fact that it does not appear in any dictionary makes it harder for an attacker to crack. 

The lesson is: Anyone can create a secure password that does a good job protecting their personal data!

TIPS #2

Claude:  “Julien, you are probably one of the most ‘paranoid’ experts on the web. Can you share how you choose and remember strong passwords?”

Julien: “Personally, I find that 12 letters is too few for a password: computers are becoming more powerful, malicious hackers now use algorithms in addition to their gross computer power – so I would say that now size is what counts!”

Claude:  “Oh? So size matters? But how do you remember a 20-character password for each account?”

Julien: “This comic book gives a good idea: https://xkcd.com/936/. The password ‘correcthorsebatterystaple’ looks ‘easy’ but is actually quite strong. In addition, it is easy to remember for the badminton fan that I am. :-)”

TIPS #3

Claude: “Tristan, did you want to add something?”

Tristan: “Yes. Everyone should avoid as much as possible re-using a password. It should be unique for each website, otherwise a malicious hacker who figures out your one password will be able to hack a whole series of services. You absolutely must compartmentalize! 

For anyone who has a goldfish memory like myself, do what I do: use a password manager. I use the one integrated in my Firefox browser, which is protected by a master password. I always invent super complicated passwords that I do not even try to memorize, because Firefox will grab them for me whenever needed. 
The only password to remember is the main Firefox password, for which I can use one of the methods above. Easy peasy! 
There are also password managers if you like. The newspaper Le Monde tested several.”

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