Password Advice

Nobody likes to change passwords.  If you consider all of the various accounts that you have, it seems like you end up changing them all of the time.  But, the fact of the matter is that any password that can be used on the internet makes these things vulnerable 24/7 from anywhere in the world.  The tips below should help you with better password habits:

Better passwords should have:

  1. At least 8 characters
  2. An upper case letter
  3. A lower case letter
  4. A number
  5. A symbol

Use these tricks to accomplish a safe password that isn’t too crazily complex:

  1. Start with something as simple as a name or word
  2. Consider inverting the caps (ie – jOSEPH is case-inverted “Joseph”)
  3. Use number substitution (ie – j0SEPH (that is a zero, not a capital O; I could have substituted a “3” for the “E”)
  4. Use symbol substitution (ie – j0$EPH (notice the “$” instead of “S”)
  5. Add digits for the year and month (ie – j0$EPH126 – the 126 is for 2012 June)
  6. Use a “core” password and increment it (ie – j0@EPH128 when you change it in August)

In the example above, it now has no dictionary words, but is secure yet easy enough to remember (after you’ve used it a couple of times)

To change your windows password (and network password if you are on a business network):

  1. Login to your computer as usual.
  2. You can press ctrl-alt-del at any point after login and one of the options will be to “Change Password”
  3. When prompted, enter your current (old) password and then the new one you want (and then again)

Password smarts:

  1. Don’t post your password in your workspace or places close by where they are used (like the door key under the doormat!)
  2. If you have to write down your password, consider writing an extra character or two at the beginning and/or end as a simple form of encryption.  That way if you see it you will remember, but someone finding it might not know to drop the extra characters (when they’re not too obvious)
  3. On internet sites, use a different password.  Consider a core password that is custom to the site with one or two letters that the name of the site would clue you in to (ie – “Yj0seph!” at Yahoo vs “Gj0seph!” at Google)
  4. When changing your password, don’t forget the other places that use it.  Smartphones that check email will then need the new password the first time you check after changing it.  You may also have programs that update each other automatically with stored passwords to keep in sync.

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