With recent website attacks on sites like LinkedIn, eHarmony, Last.fm, Formspring, and most recently Yahoo.com many people’s accounts were left exposed; their passwords out in the open. The list of hacked passwords also highlighted the fact that many people are using weak, easy to crack passwords.
It is important to keep password security strong for your online accounts, especially since in many cases it is the only security measure guarding your sensitive information. Use the following guidelines to create a secure password.
Do not post your password on a sticky note attached to your computer monitor - that defeats the whole purpose. Many people create a password to protect important information and then write it down and place it somewhere in the open or in a top drawer next to the computer. Passwords should be kept a secret. The best practice would be to memorize your password, however, if you just can’t seem to remember your passwords then at the very least keep them hidden in a locked drawer.
Avoid using plain words from the Dictionary, these types of passwords are much easier to crack. Instead, take a phrase that means something to you alone and turn it into a password using the first initials of each word and number/symbol substitutions. Passwords should include lowercase letters, uppercase letters, numbers, and symbols.
Here are a few examples:
My black lab Daisy is the number one pooch = MblDit#1p
I was crazy for dating Cameron in 9th grade! = IwcfdCi9g!
My favorite Oregon Ducks player was #21 = MfODpw#21
BIGGER IS BETTER
Passwords should be a minimum of 8 characters long to increase it’s security strength.
DO NOT REUSE PASSWORDS
Each of your accounts should have a different unique password, especially accounts containing financial or sensitive information.
Change your passwords from time to time and trust your instincts. If you click on a Facebook link and get a sick feeling in your stomach that "Video of Grandma Dancing" might be a virus then change your password immediately.
TIP: For incredibly sensitive information use a product with two-factor authentication security measures. Two-factor authentication protects your information - even if your password is hacked - by requiring a second security measure to login to your account.