Password Security

 

Living in the modern digital age, we all have passwords. We have passwords for our banking, our phone, sometimes even our homes and our cars. It’s a lot to remember and it’s a lot to keep track of.

It’s tempting to just leave passwords as the default to make things easier. Unfortunately, the consequence of a default or easy to guess password is a data breech.

People often think “Well who cares who sees my email.” or “I don’t care if someone sees my banking information, there’s nothing there anyway.” While perhaps this is true, data breeches are a lot more dangerous than someone seeing something that they aught not to. Inevitably a compromised email can and will lead to identity theft, which is a lot harder to recover from. Or in some cases has cost people their jobs because confidential information was compromised.

Tips for better password security:

  • Never leave the password as the default password. Default passwords are super easy to get a hold of, and are, by their very nature, insecure. Always change the password you get from any service provider.
  • Don’t use the same password for everything. Having a variety of passwords will prevent the bad guys from getting everything.
  • Avoid easy to guess patterns. So many passwords start with a capitalized word from the dictionary, followed by a number and then a special character. Mix things up a little. Passw0rd! isn’t a great password, because it has the capital at the front, the special character at the end, and the number is a common letter replacement.
  • Don’t write your password on a sticky note on your computer screen. If you have troubles remembering your password, perhaps use the first letters of all the words in a phrase.
    For instance: To Be or Not To Be, That Is The Question becomes tbontbtitq. You should then randomly select a few characters to be capitals and perhaps replace some characters with numbers or special characters. However, if there is a phrase to remember, it might be easier to recall.
  • Don’t store passwords in a document. Frequently people put their passwords in a spreadsheet or other document. If anyone were to ever get their hands on that document, it would be a disaster. Sometimes companies keep a list of their employee’s passwords in a document, this is even more dangerous.
  • Common personal information is a bad idea too. It’s frequently easy to get someone’s wedding anniversary or close family birthdays.
  • Change your passwords at least twice per year, more frequently if you deal with sensitive information. One good way to make sure your password isn’t compromised is to make certain that it’s a moving target.

A good password has:

  • at least 8 characters
  • a mix of capital and lower case letters (at least one of each)
  • at least one number
  • at least one special character

2B0!2bT#tq would be a good example because it meets these criteria and the capitals, numbers and special characters are randomly dispersed.
It would be relatively easy to remember, because it’s based on the phrase we looked at before.

Note: Please don’t use this as your actual password, it’s a commonly published example.

Just like you wouldn’t leave the keys in your car, don’t make stealing your information any easier for people. Use good passwords and change them frequently.