(3 Apr 2013) InfoWatch - Digital Citizenship [DC 11]

In this post we will learn about Password Security and Management.
Passwords are the virtual keys to some of our most valuable information assets.
The problem is that passwords have become so common, so much a part of our daily lives, that we treat them with casual indifference. As a result, we too often fore-go security for convenience. We come up with weak passwords that are easy to guess. We write them down and tape them to our computer screens so that we won’t forget them.

But, with a little ingenuity and attention to detail, we can easily create and track rock-solid passwords. We can also take advantage of password management tools to keep these virtual keys safe, and ensure that our passwords operate as powerful complements to  security system, not as liabilities. 

Step 1: Build a better password
It's tempting to use birth date as password, or pet’s name. The problem is that these passwords are as obvious to hackers as they are to you. The challenge in creating a hacker-proof password is to make the password difficult to guess without making it impossible to remember.

To create and maintain strong passwords, start with these suggestions: 
  • Use a combination of uppercase and lowercase letters, symbols, and numbers.
  • Make sure passwords are at least 8 characters long. The more characters passwords contain, the more difficult they are to guess.
  • Try to make passwords as meaningless and random as possible.
  • Use different passwords for each account.
  • Change passwords regularly. Set up a routine (e.g. changing passwords on the first of each month).
  • Never write passwords down, and never give them out to anyone.

To avoid weak passwords, consider these suggestions: 
  • Don't use names or numbers associated with you (such as your child’s birth date or your spouse’s name).
  • Don't use your user name or login name in any form.
  • Don't use a derivative of names or numbers associated with you.
  • Avoid using a solitary word in any language.
  • Don't use the word “password” as your password.
  • Avoid using easily-obtained personal information. This includes your telephone numbers, identification card number, car’s license plate number, and street address.
  • Don't answer “yes” when prompted to save your password to a particular computer. Instead, rely on a strong password committed to memory or stored in a dependable password management program.

    Hope these tips can help you build and maintain strong passwords. We will learn about Advanced password composition in subsequent post.


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