10 Tips for Better Password Protection
It doesn’t matter what controls you have in place or how tough your firewall is: if your passwords are compromised, all of your information is at risk.
Of course, just about everything from your voicemail to your 401(k) requires a password these days. That makes it tempting to craft one or two all-purpose passwords to simplify your life. This is a big mistake because if someone cracks that code, they have access to everything. Below are 10 dos & don’ts for protecting access to your data.
The “DOs” to make you more secure:
- Use unique passwords for everyone and every program
- Change your passwords regularly (at least quarterly)
- Use at least eight characters if you’re allowed to determine your own length
- Include at least one numeral by substituting 5 for S, 8 for B, etc.
- Mix upper & lower cases & if the system allows, use non-alpha-numeric characters (like % & #)
- Choose the “initials” of a song or other memorable phrase to make the password easier to remember. For example, “Save It For A Rainy Day,” could be written as Si4aRd
The “Don’ts” that could leave you vulnerable:
- Avoid using the same password for multiple machines or programs.
- Don’t “update” a password by simply adding a digit or capitalizing, such as changing “apfile” to “apfile1”.
- Try not to use words that appear in the dictionary, even if you run them together into one word, like “vendorchecks.”
- Don’t use a variation of the account name or program you’re working in