Tips and Tricks to Keep your Password Strong, Safe and Memorable.
Creating a strong password is one of the most important (and overlooked) security measures you can take to ensure cyber security. One string of letters and numbers is all that protects you from a clever hacker who wants to start mucking around with your account. Luckily there are easy ways to generate passwords that are strong AND easy to remember.
First Things First
There are two essential password rules to consider when creating a password for the first time – length and complexity.
- Your password length should be at least 8 characters long
- Your password should use a combination of lower case letters, upper case letters, numbers, and special characters.
The easiest way to create a safe password would be to pick two random words, add a hyphen, and tack a number on the end. A space can count as a special character. That way you have a password that uses all of the rules and is still easy to remember. Some examples of that would be Pooh-Bear53 or Top-Gear71.
Whether you’re changing your password or creating a new one, it’s important to use different passwords for each website you go to. Since email access is also password protected, it’s never a good idea to use the same email address and password combination.
Change it Often
"Treat your password like your toothbrush,” said Clifford Stoll, U.S. Astronomer and author. "Don’t let anybody else use it, and get a new one every six months.” While funny, this still holds true today.
Password Pitfalls to Avoid Like the Plague
- Never use any information about yourself that can be found in the public record. This includes birthdays, anniversaries, number plates, or home addresses.
- It’s not a great idea to replace letters with numbers in a common dictionary word; for example a hacker will crack "P455w0rd” just as fast as the word "Password.”
- Never make your password the same as your username.
- As soon as a password is hacked, immediately change it to something more secure.
- Never write your password down.
This is a guest blog post written by David Thompson who is the current IT Manager for WCF Ltd. David will be writing a monthly article as part of the "IT Corner" column / slot. We hope you find these snippets of IT knowledge useful!