Passwords – Protecting You from Yourself

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Password Protection

Passwords are pervasive in today’s world.  Accounts for your bank, email, music library, debit cards and favorite social media sites all require your password.  More than a few people use the same password for everything, including things they wouldn’t want falling into the wrong hands.  Unfortunately this isn’t a smart thing to do, as one lost password can cost you your whole identity (not just an arm and a leg).  The following is a list of password tips and tricks to help keep your accounts, and your identity, safe and secure.

  1. Don’t use simple or common passwords – passwords like “password”, “iloveyou”, and “123456” are too common and can easily be guessed by a malicious individual.  It’s important to use a password you can remember but without being predictable.
  2. Vary your passwords – use unique passwords for each activity/account you’re using.  Thankfully some websites and other institutions enforce password restrictions that help you avoid falling into the trap of using common or easily guessed passwords.
  3. Use “special” characters – passwords that include characters besides the letter keys makes it much harder to guess.  Include non-alphanumeric characters like $, !, and * to increase the complexity of your password.
  4. Use a minimum of eight characters – using fewer than eight characters drastically reduces the strength of your password, giving individuals an easier time guessing or discovering your password.  Password-guessing programs can crack short passwords in even less time.
  5. Don’t write your passwords down – this can be one of the toughest rules to follow; we all like to write things down to help the memory.  But your best practice is to avoid this shortcut as it makes it that much easier for a passer-by to find and use in a malevolent way.

Following these simple steps will help strengthen the security of any account with password access. Protect yourself by using strong passwords whenever possible and you are much less likely to find your accounts have been compromised.