High profile, corporate security breaches seem to make the news every week. Library and personal accounts are also at risk of being hacked for confidential information. As professionals and individuals we need to be vigilant about the passwords used to secure the products and services we engage with every day.
Here are ten tips for creating secure passwords:
- Make all passwords difficult to guess. This means not using things such as your name, your pet's name, your address or anything else that can be easily related to you.
- Consider using passphrases instead of passwords wherever possible. Alternatively, a random character generator can provide you extremely challenging passwords that are very secure!
- Strong passwords include more than just letters. Use upper case, lower case, numbers and special characters when creating secure passwords.
- Do not use the same passwords for your personal accounts and your library accounts. This may be easier to remember, but the risks are significantly higher should either password be compromised.
- Change your password on a regular basis even if the system does not require you to. Ninety days is a good timeframe for which account passwords should be updated.
- Do not write your password down and put on your keyboard/monitor/desk where it can be seen and easily copied.
- Do not reuse passwords.
- Do not use the most common base words: Password, Seasons (Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter), Windows, Welcome, and Company name or Abbreviation (Xyzcorp1).
- Do not use the most common numeric strings: 123, 1234, Year (2013, 2012, etc.), 12345, 54321, and zip code of office (e.g. 48108).
- Do not use the most common special characters: ! , *, and # (almost always used at the end of the password).
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