The importance of passwords is often overlooked. It is easy to think it is okay to keep your password on a post-it note under the keyboard or to use your anniversary (so you don’t forget!) as your password for everything. The truth is this is not a safe strategy. Follow these six rules so you can stop worrying about your security.
1. Have a minimum length – Most sites require a minimum of 6-8 characters. If the site you are setting your password for does not require eight characters then make your password at least that long anyway. In addition, most importantly if you can make it longer do so.
2. Change your password often – Changing passwords is one of the best security tools because if someone does get your password hopefully they get the one you were using last week. The generally accepted minimum is every 90 days.
3. Don’t use your Access ID – a string of numbers, names or common words or phrases as your password – Your mother in law’s maiden name is not a good password. Random number and letter combinations are the best passwords you can use; the more random the better.
4. Use special characters – Using special characters makes the password much stronger. Special characters are shift plus a number key so add a few to your password to really lock it down.
5. Don’t share – Sharing is very popular in social media, and that is okay, but you need to drawn draw the line at passwords. Never share your password and if you do not have a choice, change it immediately after.
6. Use different passwords – So you have listened to the above and have a great password for all your sites. Now you need multiple great passwords because you should not use the same password for everything. This is called damage control. This way if one site is compromised, your entire world is not compromised as well.
Yes remembering all these passwords can be a burden. Written lists under your keyboard are a bad idea, but a list in your safe at home or safe deposit box at the bank are good choices. Another idea is a password management utility that keeps your passwords stored in an encrypted file on your computer.
Do you have any password security tips you would like to share?