It’s not enough to use passwords. Some PC users will pick a password they like and can remember and use that password for the rest of their lives. This is not a safe password policy, even if that password is tough to crack. Instead, we need to look at how often we change our passwords and the types of passwords we are choosing. Only then can we hope to close that particular door in network and computer security.
A password needs to be at least six characters long and contain a mixture on letters, numbers and possibly symbols. The longer the password, the better. So we need to find a way to generate and memorize these passwords so we can use them in real life. One possible technique is to use a pattern on the keyboard. For example, you could use all of the center keys, then all of the number keys like so: “a-s-d-f-g-h-j-k-l-1-2-3-4-5-6-7-8-9-0.” That’s a long password and it’s easy to remember because you have selected a pattern on the keyboard. To make it even stronger, you can hit the shift key and do it twice: “a-s-d-f-g-h-j-k-l-1-2-3-4-5-6-7-8-9-0-A-S-D-F-G-H-J-K-L-!-@-#-$-%-^-&-*-(-).” This was the same key combination twice, except the second time around we held the shift key. You can also use a phrase and take the first letter from each phrase. To make it more secure, try adding a number before the first letter and maybe an exclamation point at the end. For instance: “I like apples because they are red.” That would translate to “7-i-l-a-b-t-a-r!”
How often should I change my password?
Depending on what you do and how you use your computer will determine how often you need to change your password. If you only check Emails at home and do not do any online banking or go to WiFi hotspots and surf with your laptop, you may only want to change your password every six months. If you are an avid Internet surfer, and if you frequent places that share Internet connectivity, then you’ll want to change it much more frequently.
Storing your passwords.
Passwords should be kept in your brain. Do not write them down and tape it below your monitor for easy access. If you must write it down, be sure to lock it away in a safe or lock box. This is why it’s a good idea to come up with a password technique, such as a keyboard combination or phrase as mentioned above.
Having a secure password is only part of having a secure computer. It plays a major role and forces us to be reminded about the dangers of Identity Theft and other forms of criminal behavior. Have a policy and be sure to stick with it and you’ll feel more secure in the end.