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Aug
22nd

How to Create a Secure Password

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How to Create a Secure Password

By John Jenks 22 August 2013, 12:29PM

With the recent wave of attacks on many websites that included some compromised passwords, I thought a post on password security would be appropriate. There are a few simple things you can do to ensure your passwords are secure and unlikely to be compromised. Here are some of the ‘do’s’, ‘don’ts’, and popular resources for password security.

Don’ts


First, here are some of the things you should never do when creating a password. Beyond my belief, one of the most popularly used passwords is actually ‘password’. It’s astonishing but true. Using a single word, especially ‘password’, is one of the easiest ways to have an account compromised. It is common for a potential hacker to write a script that runs through a dictionary entering each term into the password field. It is also foolish to use any self-identifying information such as your name, address, phone number, pet’s name, spouse’s name, etc. If someone has access to this information, it becomes increasingly easy to access your account.

Do’s


All passwords should use a combination of uppercase and lowercase, numbers, letters, and symbols. One of the easiest ways to do this is to decide on a pattern that you will use for all of your passwords. You might decide to choose a word followed by a combination of numbers followed by punctuation. For example, for your social media accounts, you might choose ‘SocialMedia1234!@’. For your email accounts, you might choose ‘Email1234!@’. Of course, you shouldn’t use self-identifying word such as ‘social media’ or ’email’. If you follow a pattern with your passwords, they become easier for you to remember but remain secure.

Resources


One of the best resources I’ve found is LastPass. They offer a free subscription and a premium option that includes a mobile application. With LastPass, you can organize your passwords into folders, securely share single passwords with others, write secure notes, and test the security rating of your passwords. My favorite feature is the browser plug-in that automatically signs you into a website when you visit it and includes a password generator. The password generator usually includes a combination of lowercase, uppercase, numbers, and letters, so I recommend adding a few symbols to be on the safe side. With the premium option that is only $12 per year, you may download the mobile app making your passwords accessible from anywhere.


Proper password security can be the difference between identity theft and a drained bank account or peace of mind. There are a few simple steps you may follow to ensure password safety, such as using a combination of numbers, letters, symbols, uppercase, and lowercase, and NEVER using self-identifying information or ‘password’ as your password. Choosing a pattern for your passwords can be a great method of remembering your passwords, but if you need help, be sure to check out LastPass.

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