“Treat your password like your toothbrush. Don’t let anybody else use it, and get a new one every six months” – Clifford Stoll
Whether at home or in the office, creating a secure password is crucial to protecting your personal information. By creating a secure password, you make it difficult for hackers to access your accounts without authorization.
- Length – The longer the password, the harder it is for a hacker or a logarithm to “guess” what your password may be. Strive for a minimum of 8 characters for your password.
- Characters – It is crucial to use special characters in your password (if the application allows it). Several applications require a special character such as !@#$%^&*. For example, instead of an “a” you can you a @ symbol, or instead of an “i” you can use the ! symbol.
- Numbers – In addition to special characters, use numeric values within your password as well. Numbers can prevent hackers from using dictionary terms to unlock your account.
- Upper Case and Lower Case – Don’t forget to vary the characters that are capitals and those that are lower case – especially if the application is case sensitive.
- Change it – Change your password every 3-6 months. I agree that this may be difficult and not conducive to remembering your password, however for maximum security change your password, especially for online bank accounts!
Things to Avoid
- Never write your password down! This is a detrimental mistake made by a majority of individuals who have a difficult time remembering their password. Passwords can easily be found under mouse pads, keyboards, behind picture frames, and in nearby drawers. You wouldn’t leave the key to your home under the door mat (I would hope) so don’t write your password down in a location for others to find.
- Keep it private – Don’t share your password with anyone. Period.
- Common names – Some common passwords to avoid are: Dictionary words, names of relatives/spouses/friends, your username, your address, your birthday, pet names, etc.
Stay tuned for my next post regarding tips on creating a super-extremely-easy-to-remember secure password!