One of the most powerful security tools one can have is also one of the most neglected. A password (a specially set apart group of characters used to gain entrance into a location) can be only as strong as you make it. This “password” (whether in a playful setting where kids allow or deny other children into a designated space or in a top secret government’s or enterprise’s most confidential location) can be easy or hard.
Passwords keep others out of social places or from doing certain special tasks. It could allow someone to change settings on a corporate server, open a special safe, launch missiles, hack a website or other havoc.
The follow are some examples from a Fox News article regarding bad passwords used by people:
Good security procedures should have requirements for you to change your password at least once a quarter or so. A growing problem with this and other suggested ways to create passwords is that fact that the older one becomes, the harder it becomes to remember new passwords using the guidelines for strong passwords.
ComputerHope.com suggests the following as rules to use in making a strong password:
- Do not use a password that you have used in the past.
- Try to change the password at least every 3-6 months.
- Create a password that is at least six characters long.
- Create a password with both digits and letters.
- Do not create a password with a family name or family pet.
- Do not create a password that is your phone number, house number, apt number, etc.
- Create a password that is not in a dictionary.
My suggestion is to make it a minimum of 8 characters long, minimum use of at least one capital letter, minimum use of at least one small letter and minimum use of at least a number or symbol in it. You can use abbreviations of full words and you could change real words into something different by substituting numbers and symbols. Some examples (please do not use these as others might try hacking with these passwords) of this are:
Some businesses and home users might see or use these services as well – SSO (single sign-on) so you log in once and it authenticates you and allows you to access other files/folders or applications and Password safes (an application design to hold all you passwords and either allows you in via a special password to access the others or by using the special password will communicate with the software and automatically add it in for you) that are usually encrypted (hidden and mostly unbreakable).
Home users will want to continue the password rules at home to protect your personal information, data, and finances. I will mention it again another time, but ones home router password should be changed from the default as another layer of protection.