How secure are your passwords? I know…its much easier to remember a password if it is simply the name of your first born or your favorite dog, but it is too easy to guess. This not only occurs for personal passwords, but many businesses don’t urge their employees to have strong passwords either. For example, I worked for a Real Estate Title Service company awhile back where sensitive information was stored on a daily basis. Yes, they took the proper steps in destroying their paper, but the passwords for each employee were not regulated. I am not saying they didn’t have security measures in place, but this is one area where they lacked. Employees designated their own passwords which had to be changed every couple of months. But, there were no specifications set for the passwords. It was easy for an employee to make their password as simple as their first name and year they were born. You may as well not have a password if it is not strong. Here are a 5 tips for stronger passwords.
- Do not use personal information such as your significant other’s name, pet names, or your birthday…these are far to easy to guess.
- Do not share your password with anyone. The is especially important if your business passwords are the same or similar to your personal passwords. Along with this, do not provide passwords through e-mail or based on e-mail requests. Also…do not put a post it note with your password on your monitor. This may sound silly, but it is surprising how much it happens!
- Use capitalization, a special character and a number in every password (as long as it’s allowed). These are much more secure than a standard letter and number password.
- Do not put your password into sites that you are not familiar with. Phishing has become an increased problem as the popularity of social media has grown. Along these same lines, be cautious when you use passwords on computers or networks that you do not control. Examples of this would be coffee shops, internet cafes, computer labs, airports, etc. Keystroke logging devices can be created or purchased by people and are easily installed on these types of computers. Hackers also have the ability to create ‘fake’ Wi-Fi spots where a user may think they are logging onto a secure Wi-Fi spot, but really they are logging onto a network created maliciously for the purpose of stealing information.
- Change your passwords on a regular basis. This is very easy and can save you problems in the future.
These are obviously not the only things that will help keep your passwords secure, but these are easy steps to take in creating strong passwords.