Passwords are part of the lock which safeguards your computer and online world.
They control access to your personal and financial information and should be made as effective as possible, to keep intruders out.
Weak passwords are those that are easily guessed by hackers (such as “password123”). A password shouldn’t include your name, common names of people or places, technical jargon, repeating sequences or keyboard sequences.
But passwords need to be easily remembered by its creator. So the dilemma is coming up with a strong password that also can be simply recalled.
A strong password must be at least eight characters long. It must include a character from the following four character sets: lower-case letters, upper-case letters, numbers, and character symbols (+, =, (, ), &, %, !, ?, <, >). It shouldn’t include three or more consecutive characters from your login or full name.
Some other password no-no’s:
- If you must write down your passwords, keep them in a secure place, away from your computer;
- Don’t use the same password on multiple accounts, because if one account gets breached, they would all be at risk;
- Don’t enter passwords when others can see what you’re typing;
- Don’t share your password with anyone;
- Don’t walk away from a shared computer without logging off;
- Don’t leave an application unattended if it is logged in or unless a password-protected screen saver is in place.
- Do not store your passwords on your computer in an unencrypted format. Saved password options in many browsers are not encrypted.
- Do not store your passwords online in an unencrypted form
There are several programs that can be used to store your passwords in an encrypted form. Two that are highly recommended are LastPass, and Dashlane. The biggest advantage/disadvantage is that you only have to use one password to access all your passwords. These programs rate the passwords you enter, so make sure to make them complex enough not to guess, but easy enough to remember using the guidelines listed above.
Developing multiple strong passwords may take some time and effort, but it beats the alternative of trying to restore your ruined financial record.