Passwords Are Like Underwear

A friend of mine once said that passwords are like underwear; we need to change them quite often. By changing your password/passwords regularly you make it more difficult for people to find out or guess, thus increasing your level of protection.

If a person steals your password they can use this information to open accounts, purchase goods, apply for credit cards or mortgages. You may not notice until it’s too late.

Identity theft happens everyday so it is very important to protect your passwords. Never share your password with anyone except in emergency circumstances. If someone knows your password then change it immediately. It’s best to memorize your passwords and not have software programs save your password for your next visit.

Software programs are easily compromised by password crackers.

Everybody does it, look around your desk, do you have sticky notes or little pieces of paper with passwords on them? This is not a good place to store your passwords. I have seen usernames, passwords, credit card numbers and account numbers scribbled on paper and stuck on monitors and the edge of desks with strangers sitting right next to them.

Make strong passwords, utilizing pass phrases that you can remember. Choose a phrase, song lyrics, poem, book title or something that is important only to you then use the first letter of each word. Next add a special character, number and/or capitalize some of the characters to help make the password more secure. Here’s an example password: mouse jumped over the cat. Mj#ot3C

What makes a strong password? There are definite dos and don’ts when making up your password.

Do Use:

  • Passwords should be a minimum of 8 characters; 14 characters or more is even better. The longer the password the more secure it is.
  • Passwords should be made up of characters, numbers and special symbols.
  • You should be able to type the password quickly without looking at the keyboard. This prevents someone memorizing the password if they are looking over your shoulder.
  • Add special characters to your password such as #, ‚Äú, {, ?. Use all of the keyboard not just the symbols on the upper keys.
  • Passwords should appear as a random string of characters.
  • Have different passwords for different accounts. If a password is compromised then all of your accounts won‚Äôt be vulnerable.

Don’t Use:

  • Don‚Äôt use your name, family, friends or pet‚Äôs names in any form.
  • Never use your social security number, driver‚Äôs license number, license plate number or any other number issued to you.
  • Birthdates, phone numbers or addresses should never be used.
  • Never use your username, computer‚Äôs name or names of places.
  • Don‚Äôt repeat any letters such as tt, gg or rr.
  • Never use letters, numbers in sequence such as 1234 or abcd.
  • Don‚Äôt use words from English or foreign dictionaries.
  • Don‚Äôt spell your name backwards and add a character to your name.

Protecting your password is very important on the Internet as phishing scams happen daily. Never send your password in email or respond to an email request for your password. Don’t give your password to someone over the phone. Do not type your personal passwords on computers in public places such as Internet Cafes, computer labs, airport lounges, hotels or kiosk systems. Do not use these systems to check bank balances, business mail, online email or any other places that contain vulnerable personal information.

Strong passwords, protecting those passwords and changing passwords regularly will help keep your identity and accounts safe. Remember passwords are like underwear.