Sarah Palin had her email account broken into this week and it turns out that she used a week, easily guessable, password… “popcorn”. This is a very good example of how vulnerable password protected systems are and how important it is to protect the data that we access. Until we have an OpenID type solution (Old Post) your first defense in protecting yourself is a strong offence by creating passwords that are hard to guess yet easy to remember.
1. Passwords should be at least 15 characters in length.
2. Passwords should be complex and contain all of the below variations;
b. 1 uppercase letter (A, B, C, D)
c. 1 number (1, 2, 3, 4)
d. 1 special character (!, @, #, $)
4. Do not use your name, birthdates, or other easily guessed words or phrases.
5. Do not share your password with anyone!
6. Never email your password.
7. Do not click on un-trusted links (bookmark your links and only use those bookmarks)
8. Create a different password for every single website you visit.
9. Do not mix work with personal.
Passwords can be hard to remember so some basic tips can help you create and remember a long complex password.
1. Think of a phrase that you like and use the first letters of the words in the phrase to create you password. example: The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog = Tqbfj0tlDog
2. Think of a phrase that you like and use the whole phrase as your password. example: The quick brown fox = Thequ1ckBrownF0x
3. Create a Password key word(s) that you can use throughout different systems. example: This is my password for = ThisismyPW4MySpace (then ThisismyPW4Yahoo, then ThisismyPW4Yahoo!, etc.)
Password managers can be a great way for you to save and remember your passwords. A password manager will save your usernames, passwords, and links in a secure way (i.e. encryption). The programs will allow you to create a master password that will allow you access to your password database. Using a password manager will allow you to create completely random passwords (i.e. “jkkjh$gf5!fJKJfHGD”) and save them. They also make it very easy to create a different completely random password for every single site you visit. There are some great, commercially available, password managers available. Do a Google search and find the one that meets your needs.
John "Mike" Wright