Almost anything you do online these days requires a password, from logging into your Facebook account to conducting your online banking. Passwords are a necessity to keep your online assets safe and sound.

Eric Griffin, who wrote for PC Mag online said, “Passwords are like underwear. You should change them often (okay, maybe not every day). Don’t share them. Don’t leave them out for others to see (no sticky notes!). Oh, and they should be sexy. Wait, sorry, I mean they should be mysterious. In other words, make your password a total mystery to others.”

Follow these common guidelines and you’ll keep your information under virtual lock and key:

  • Use a minimum password length of 8 characters.
  • Include upper and lower case.
  • Include special characters (!@#$%^&*).
  • Use different passwords for different sites.
  • Avoid passwords that repeat the same dictionary or common word (dogdog), letter or number sequences (asdf1234), a relative or family pet’s name, birth dates, addresses and phone numbers are also a bad idea.
  • Avoid using simple obfuscation by replacing letters with numbers of symbols that are similar. For example: p@ssw0rd.
  • Avoid using common passwords.

We also recommend you clear your internet browser’s cache. Navigating the Internet causes temporary files to be saved automatically on your computer. Not only can these files slow down your web browser’s performance over time, they can also cause your browsing history to be viewed by anyone.

My boss, John uses a password generator to change his passwords often. Instead of racking his brain, he lets the generator come up with the password and he’s good to go. He uses Strong Password Generator, and there are many free ones out there.

Up until this week, I was my IT department’s worst nightmare, storing post-it notes on my desk with passwords written on them. Well, no more! I now store my passwords using KeePass – it’s free and took just minutes to set up. Just search for “password manager” and you’ll find heaps of options. Some free, some for a small fee.

So let’s all work to keep it safe out there on the interwebs, okay?

© 2012 – 2018, Contributing Author. All rights reserved.

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