Password Smarts

Password Smarts

Written By Jasmine

Webmistress The Majickal Garden

 

We live in a world of fast moving technology and it’s become such a part of our everyday lives that for most of us we are never without one of the many options of nifty gadgets. Unfortunately technology is progressing for those that want to steal our vital personal information that is stored on them.

It’s too easy to be complacent with a false sense of security in thinking “I am safe behind my screen. Those things only happen to someone else.” It can happen to anyone. There are hackers with progressive software that run them constantly to find places to get into others computers. However, there are things we can do to help protect ourselves.

It’s surprising the number of passwords used for ease of remembering them that make the users such a target. “12345” is the most common numbers used. “Password” was high on the list as well along with “admin”. Common words found in a dictionary (foreign included) are easier for hackers to crack. The names of family, girlfriend, pets, hobbies, graduation date, etc. can be found on many social networks or other sources.

A good password would be eight characters in length and use lower-and-upper-case letters, numbers and keyboard characters (&%! #, etc.) If the password length required allows it could be longer.

*Don’t use birthdates, Social Security numbers or addresses, or company names.

*Don’t use the same name as your log-in name or a variation.

*Don’t use passwords with double letter or numbers.

*Don’t leave it blank…that is an open invitation for the bad guys.

*Don’t use one password for all your accounts. Using one password makes it easier to grab all your accounts in one fell swoop.

You want a password that is easy to remember and difficult to guess. It sounds ironic but easier than it sounds.

*Do substitute some letters with characters and numbers.

*Do remember a long password is much more difficult to crack, if the site allows.

*Do consider creating a random password by turning a sentence you can easily remember into a password by using the first letter of each word; maybe substitute some numbers as appropriate. For example: The best way out is always through- Robert Frost  becomes Tbwoiat-RF. You might also add or substitute a number to that (no, that is not mine! : ) ) What counts is that a computer program trawling for passwords can’t discern obvious or personal patterns in it. It is wise to change passwords periodically if not the whole thing at least a variation of it.

*Do use separate passwords for different accounts. Using one password makes it easier for the bad guys to grab all your accounts in one fell swoop. If one account is compromised at least all won’t be affected.

*Do change your passwords regularly. A long standing password decreases the odds that you won’t get hacked.

I am not a qualified tech person however as a computer user I have learned a few things along the way. I do think it’s a good idea to make sure you have virus protection on your computer as well as consider spyware protection and a firewall.

There is no guarantee you will never have your details compromised by hackers however taking steps to create “safer” passwords is something you can do to lower your risk.

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