With more and more of our personal data being stored on our computers, giving thoughtful consideration to a password strategy can go a long way in preventing data from being compromised. The following tips are presented as a guide to assist you in password selection.
- At least eight characters long
- A combination of upper and lower case letters, numbers, punctuation and other symbols
- Quick to type, in case anyone is peering over your shoulder
- Your first name, last name, or login name, in any form
- Consecutive or repetitive numbers or letters
- Adjacent keyboard letters such as qwerty or asdfghjk
- Common and obvious letter-number replacements (e.g. replace the letter O with number 0)
- Easily guessed personal information such as names and dates of yourself, family members, pets and close acquaintances
- Easily obtained information, such as:
- license plate numbers
- telephone numbers
- credit card or ATM numbers
- Social Security or Social Insurance numbers
- email addresses
- Dictionary words, in any language, forward and backward
- Popular book titles, movie titles, or phrases
- Short passwords
- Never share your password with anyone. Protect all passwords as you would protect your bank PIN.
- Never store passwords unencrypted on your computer. Password management software is great for managing many passwords, but take great care to protect access to your password database with a strong password, access card or USB key! (Or better, a combination of these).
- Never type your password when anyone is standing nearby.
- Beware of phishing scams.
- Change your password frequently.
- Never use the same password in many places, especially online!