The first step to creating and maintaining secure passwords is changing how we think about passwords!
Your password for any given account is like a key for an individual building, vehicle or other important piece of property that you want to keep securely in your possession!
It wouldn’t make a lot of sense to use a single sided, straight key made out of flimsy material, and to use this single key for your home, business, vehicles and safety deposit box, does it?
Unfortunately this is exactly how many people manage their passwords!
Here is a quick guide on how to create and maintain strong passwords to help ensure your accounts stay secure.
Variety: The Spice of Life!
Create each password to include a variety of characters using all: uppercase letters, lower case letters, numbers and symbols.
This is no place for Recycling!
While we have a social responsibility to reduce, reuse and recycle when it comes to materials, we each have a personal responsibility to not reuse or recycle passwords!
Use passwords each time that are absolutely unique from any used previously or in any other account.
Each service that you log into should have a unique password, in the event that one service is compromised, the integrity of your password for each other service remains intact.
It’s Not Personal!
One of the first tactics that hackers use to guess your passwords is compiling your personal information, because we have all been guilty at some point of using names of loved ones or special dates in our passwords.
It is highly recommended to never again include dates, times or names of people or places in your passwords.
Just a little Longer!
With the rise of super computers, hackers and other attackers can now do in seconds what used to take hours and in minutes or hours what used to take months or years.
To help ensure that your passwords cannot be cracked, we recommend that you apply each of the above guidelines while making each password a minimum of 12 characters ... and the more the merrier!
Change is Good!
Passwords should be changed on a regular basis. We recommend that each password be changed every 30-90 days to limit the risk of exposure in the event that one of your passwords gets cracked, leaked or shared.
Caring is NOT sharing!
In this day and age, passwords should never be shared from user to user and if credentials need to be given for support, this should never be done over email.
Instead, create a password protected file that is uploaded to a secured file server (OneDrive, etc) and delete the file and change your password once the support task is complete
Keep it Under Control!
With each individual website and service requiring a unique password of a certain length with a mix of characters that do not bare any personal information, managing these passwords on our own is near impossible, and the last thing we should be doing is storing these in a spreadsheet or book that can be easily stolen, so what do we suggest?
Use a password manager!
There are many software developers that have created a password manager: software that not only keeps your passwords saved securely, but many also help you randomly create a secure password for each service.