With increasing use of the Internet in this digital world, it is very important that you secure your information with a strong password. You have heard that you should always use a password that is complex and hard to guess or crack. So, what constitutes a strong password? The following are few guidelines or “things to think about” when managing your passwords:
• Choose your password wisely. The password should use at least 8 characters (the longer, the better). According to a study by Carnegie Mellon University, “The biggest factor in determining the strength of your password is its length.”
• The password should be built using a mixture of upper and lower case letters, at least one number, and if the site or service allows, special characters (&, ?, @, !, #, ?, etc.). This makes it nearly impossible for anyone to guess the password. Using a sentence or pass phrase that is easy to remember can also help create a strong password. You can check your password strength at Microsoft’s Password Checker, passfault.com, or howsecureismypassword.net.
• If you think you cannot create an unbreakable password, there are plenty of tools like PC Tools Secure Password Generator which will generate a strong password for you.
• You should never share your password with anyone, not even your best friend, your relative, or your colleague.
• Use different passwords for different sites and software. In case somebody hacks your account, this limits the possible damage to only one site.
• These days, almost everyone has a LinkedIn account, a Facebook profile, and a Twitter feed that expose some personal information to the outside world. So, never create your passwords from personal information that has been made public or can be guessed due to the availability on such websites.
• You should change your password frequently, at least once every three months. Always change your password if you think there is a chance that someone has seen it.
• Avoid letting browsers save or store your passwords. Make sure that you log out of the program or system when you are done with your work, especially on public computers.
• The best thing to protect your passwords is to memorize them all. However, remembering all different passwords for various sites, services, and software may be a difficult task. In such situations, you can use the password manager that comes with your Internet security software, for example, Norton Internet Security 2012 or Kaspersky Internet Security 2013.
In today’s password-driven world, these tips and tricks can help you create a strong password that will secure your information from malicious hackers.