Archive for the ‘Computers’ Tag

Password Importance

Password Security

I’ve been in the technology industry for quite some time and it never ceases to amaze me how people so easily give out their passwords and those passwords are weak and personal.  Access to your computer and online activities should be treated like your debit card’s PIN number or your wallet, both of which you don’t give out to just anyone.  Here are a few rules to live by when creating your passwords.

Rule 1. Never give out your password! It doesn’t matter if you trust your IT department, tech guy, or your friends or co-workers, just don’t do it. Relationships change and sometimes not always for the better. Think of it this way, if you wouldn’t give your wallet to a person, then don’t give them your password. If you must give out your password for a troubleshooting issue, change your password immediately after the work has been completed.

Rule 2. Use a strong password. A strong password should have several components, upper and lower case letters, numbers, and if possible symbols. One of the best ways to create a strong and complex password that you will remember is the “Phrase Password.” You create a phase like “Did you do it? Yes, one hour ago” which translates to Dudi?Y1ha. Not every website or online service allows the use of symbols in passwords, so make your passwords stronger and longer with more alphanumeric characters.

Rule 3. Separate yourself from your password.  Don’t use your spouse’s name or your child’s birthday. It’s easy to remember but if you talk about your spouse or your children online, then you are putting that information out there for the hackers to see and use.  No need to make things easy for the bad guy.

Rule 4. Make your passwords longer than eight characters. The longer and more complex the password is, the harder it is to hack. Often people will get lazy and use the shortest password possible, like 12345 or their favorite curse word. These passwords are easy to guess and hackers can brute-force or crack the code using software with little trouble at all.

Rule 5. Never use the same password for multiple online accounts. I’ve seen it many times; someone uses the same password for Facebook, Twitter, email, and a host of other online services. Mix it up, have a few phrase passwords to use and change them often. If you forget the phrase or password, use a password managing software, such as KeePass which can also generate strong, complex passwords.

Rule 6. Change your password often. Set a schedule to change your passwords and hold to it. Yes, it’s a pain to change all your passwords, but it’s easier than rebuilding your credit after your identity has been stolen or trying to get control of your Facebook account while some hacker is posting porn to your Facebook friends. In most cases, you can get by with only having to change your passwords once every three months unless you are a heavy online services user then once a month might be better.

Computers and the Internet are wonderful tools and they can be fun but be smart.  Don’t make it easy for anyone to gain access to your files, online accounts, and your personal lives.

Microsoft’s Password Checker – Check the strength of your password.

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