Passwords are often cited as the top annoyance by people who use technology. It’s also one of primary ways businesses get into situations that impair staff productivity, damage reputations, and, often, cost money. Individuals suffer too -- including lost time, data, and sometimes, money.
While no password can guarantee the safety of your accounts, following the suggestions below will make them more secure and easier to manage both at work and at home.
Create longer, complex passwords - Ideally, a password should:
- contain between 12 - 16 characters and feature a mix of upper/lower case letters, numbers and special characters. (For example, 14-character password could take 811 trillion guesses to crack.)
- avoid the “it’s easy to type” method (like 12345, asdfjkl; or qwerty)
- use capital letters in the middle or end as hackers expect it at the beginning.
- avoid personal data – especially pet names, birthdates, any part of your name or initials.
- include random patterns such as 163254 instead of sequential or ‘ordered’ patters such as 123456.
- Create or find an easy to remember phrase and use the first letter of each word. Then add numbers and random capital letters to create a password. Example: I ate two caramel apples on 4th Avenue would become:
- Create a string of random words with capitalization, numbers, punctuation, and symbols. For example: ?neon Blue ^surfing Moon 9racing Pulse
- Take your favorite quote and turn it into a password – being sure to include a number, capital letter and punctuation: “ywgt,b0iykG.” came from You will get there, but only if you keep going. (That’s a zero for the word only.)
- Since you shouldn’t use the same password for every account, you might consider use a “base password” and then alter it slightly. For example, add the first letter of the website the end. Using the password from the example above, your Facebook password would be: ywgt,b0iykG.F
Remember, passwords are like locks on your car, doors and windows. They're meant to keep the bad guys out and protect your valuables. Using some of the tips here will help!