Password: Do This, Not That
Adding “password security” should be high up on your to-do list and here are a few things you should do (and not do) when creating a secure password.
It’s important to have goals – eat healthier, get more exercise, floss more – but out of all the lists of targets out there very few people seem to list “make better passwords.” Granted it’s not fun or trendy, and it’s not a benefit that will deliver immediate results, making it about as much fun as flossing, however, like flossing it can help you avoid serious problems in the future. So should you finally add “password security” to your list of goals, here are a few things you should do (and not do) when creating a secure password.
Create unique passwords that utilize a combination of letter (lowercase and capitalize), numbers and symbols. Also be sure to spread out your special characters, numbers, and capitalization. Putting them all in the front or the end will give you little benefit in keeping your accounts safe.
Never make your password your username or something easily guessed. It’s usually best to avoid using any words that can be found in the dictionary as password-cracking software will often utilize dictionary lists that will try thousands of common names and words.
Make your passwords lengthy. It might be difficult to recall a long password, but it’s worth doing and committing to memory when you consider that each character added to a password makes it harder to attack. It doesn’t have to be overly complicated, just between 12-15 characters to provide extra protection.
Don’t make your password “password.” This sounds like a no-brainer, but you would be shocked how many people do this, or make it something equally as egregious as “12345” or “ABCDEF.” It’s in your best interest to keep your passwords not only long but unique as well. Also, avoid common sports and pop culture references because having “Batman” as your password won’t protect your account from hackers like Batman.
Once you have a 12-15 character, super unique password, figured out for each account, keep it! Most would advise changing your password on a monthly basis – don’t. Sounds counterintuitive, but research shows that it does not make your account any safer. Continually evolving a password often leads to simple password methods that lead to more significant problems like just adding a number to the end of a new password. Investing the time to create a robust password the first time will serve you better than continually trying to jumble the same letters and symbols around.
Do not use the same password for multiple accounts. If one account is compromised, the hacker could quickly unlock other accounts with that same password. It’s important to remember that no matter how careful you are with your passwords things do happen beyond your control. So if a hacker hits Amazon and your password is exposed, and you use that same password for your email, chances are the hackers will soon be reading your emails as well.
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