In times like these when cybercrime has become a daily news item, we have to keep educating Internet users of the threats and dangers out there, and at the same time promote a culture of safe computing! With the growing concerns of identity theft, fraud, etc. it is extremely important to ensure that users use safe passwords. It is one of the basic safeguards but how many users abide by these simple rules? The following checklist helps users review some best practices for defining strong passwords that are used for identity verification.
Strong password characteristics include:
- Is at least eight characters long and contains number, letters, symbols, and uppercase and lowercase letters.
- Is not a common (dictionary) name or user name, even in other languages!
- To change sensitive passwords such as, with bank accounts on regular basis. The longer a password remains the same, the greater the chances that an attacker will find it and use it!
- Use strong passwords that are difficult to guess.
- Use different passwords for different accounts such as gmail or hotmail versus banking.
- Do not use personal information such as, birthdate even as part of your password string.
- Do not share your password with anyone or write it down on a piece of paper where others can see. Also, do not keep a password file on your computer if not properly encrypted with a stronger password.
- Do not use personal and sensitive passwords on public computers or public Wi-Fi services.
- Never respond to email requests for your password.
It is recommended to use phrase techniques to create strong passwords that are easy to remember, however, these too need to include a combination of numbers, letters, symbols, and upper/lowercase characters.