A strong password is your first line of defense against potential hackers and snoopers with less than noble intentions. Passwords are surprisingly easy to get past if the perpetrator has even the slightest idea of what they are doing, and even more so if a few simple guidelines are not followed. However, if you follow these rules, you can make it extremely difficult for someone to hack into your computer/accounts and steal or defile your information.
1. Don’t Use Real Words/Information.
Your password should make absolutely no sense. That means it shouldn’t have any complete words in it at all, this includes substituting letters with symbols. For example, instead of “Safe”, some people think “[email protected]” is random because it doesn’t contain most of the actual letters, but these symbols are popularly used as substitutes for those letters, so it’s much easier to eventually get this password by guessing or using programs designed to rapidly cycle through potential passwords.
Passwords shouldn’t have dates, street names, or favorite colors. Why? Because these are all common sources for passwords. With this in mind, a hacker could scour the Internet and find your full name, current address, phone number, previous addresses, likes and dislikes etc; and use this information with a password algorithm program to figure out your password. So, what’s the solution?
2. A Combination of Letters, Numbers, & Symbols.
Combining these three categories can make your password incredibly hard (usually not worth a hacker’s time) to crack. When starting the process of creating a password, make sure it is at least 8 characters long (the longer, the better) and uses a combination of letters (both uppercase and lower case) mixed with numbers and symbols. Make sure it’s truly random, otherwise you’re compromising the password’s effect. For example, “1&DAnGer57!” would be a bad password, because it has a word in it (breaking rule 1).
A better password would be: “1&Ds(f%k#J57!” This password would be a lot more difficult to crack, because it makes no meaningful sense. I know what you’re thinking though, “That’s great, but how in the heck am I supposed to remember that!?” Number 3 should help…
3. Where You Store Your Password is Key
It’s tempting to store your passwords in a text document on your computer, but that’s one of the worst possible places to store a password. If you leave your computer on, or your computer has viruses you’re not aware of, someone would have absolutely no problem finding the passwords you stored in the file named “Passwords”. It sounds ridiculous, I know, but you may remember hearing about the Sony employees who did just that. Fine, where do you store your passwords, then? There are some great programs out there designed to store them securely, ensuring that you don’t have to remember each one, and that they aren’t sitting out in the open. Here are three of the best programs currently available for protected password storage:
These programs offer some great support and features for keeping your passwords secure. There are also many other trusted and quality password protection services out there, so take a look online and find the one that’s right for you.
Passwords are more than just a combination of characters, they make the difference between an open door and one that’s locked. It’s extremely important that the door to your data is always shut and locked tightly. With that being said, the process should never be complex enough to interfere with your job and efficiency. Follow these simple guidelines and you’ll never have to wonder if your password is doing its job.
For even more ease in creating passwords, check out this website. This website will create a random password that follows these guidelines in a matter of seconds.
For any questions on this or anything else, please contact [email protected] or call us at (800) 549-7827.
Not a member? Call or email us at [email protected].