I have often suspected that some of these passwords that we all use to set up user accounts could leak and be seen by prying eyes. It would not take a lot of security breach. My suspicions were confirmed by an email that I received and that would have been immediately turned into spam, except for one curious item. He was showing a password I was actually using, but I never signed up for the account that the email confirmed! How would you react if it happened to you?
I am not worried because this password is what I consider a low security password. I use a few routinely, which, if they were to be compromised, like this one, would cause little or no damage. I am now happy to have taken this precaution. Too often, computer security advice is not taken seriously enough. Do not take your password strategy lightly. Here are some things to consider when you develop a password policy:
First, do what I did; create at least two or three “low security passwords” that you use for tasks where no damage can be caused if passwords are compromised. You can use the same for many “accounts” in order to have fewer passwords to remember.
You will also want medium to relatively high passwords. These should ideally be used for one or two places only. If your weak security passwords are discovered, they can not be used to access higher priority locations.
I would recommend that you NEVER use your email, computer, or network password for other purposes. These passwords must be completely unique.
Then there are the high security passwords. These are the ones like your bank account or your credit card account. I recommend that it be the most “complex” and that each account has a unique password.
OK, it may sound a little intimidating to have so many passwords, but it’s worth it. Obviously, the way you create your passwords is just as important. There are good passwords and bad passwords. Unfortunately, these easy words are bad passwords. You may be surprised how easy your passwords can be if you do not create them correctly.
There is a software called “crack passwords”, a software that can “decrypt” an unsecured password in just a few seconds. Do not, I repeat, DO NOT use a password that is in the dictionary. It will be easily cracked. In addition, anything that is sequential on your keyboard will be used by crackers of passwords. In other words, “QWERTY123” is another example of an incorrect password.
You’ve probably heard that before, but it’s worth mentioning. Do not use anything that someone could easily guess. Avoid using birthdays, names of children or pets, social security numbers, etc.
So, what makes a good password? A rule is a minimum of eight (8) characters, which is longer for more sensitive areas such as your bank account. The length alone is not enough. It must be complex: combination of letters (preferably upper and lower case), numbers and symbols. Symbols are more optional on lower security passwords, but the more security you need, the better you’ll use them.
Maybe you think, “Wow, it’s too difficult, I mean, ‘X638b4% @ mcl * N54st’ is a horrible password to remember!” There is good news. With a little creativity, you can create a formula for good passwords. Think of something that has meaning for you. Remember, however, that the rule should not be easy to guess. Suppose your first friend, you remember, was a neighbor named Sammy, 4 years old, living on Elm Street. You can create a password such as “S @ mmy! StBud-Elm @ 4” that would be both memorable and secure.
This password tip would not be complete without some helpful tips:
- Do not create a password list and paste it into the top drawer of your desktop.
- Do not paste a password list under your computer’s keyboard.
- Do not put passwords on a sticky note attached to your computer screen.
- For maximum security, do not put a password list near your computer.
Another thing to remember is that it’s good to change your passwords regularly, but not to the limit. If you work for a company that requires a password change each week (or a “safe” interval), tell them to read it. Changing passwords often creates users with less secure passwords. Let’s face it, how often can you find good passwords safely? It’s best to keep your passwords longer than changing them frequently with less secure passwords.
The security password should not be taken lightly. If you use unsecured passwords because you do not realize that there is something like a crack in the passwords, it’s time to fix that vulnerability. If you only know the term “phishing” and do not know what it is or how it works, I strongly recommend that you inquire so you do not become the victim of anyone. Use Google Search to learn more about phishing scams. When you take these things seriously, you must be the only person to reach those things you should be the only person to access