Why Passwords Matter

What a simple life we all would lead if we could use the same simple password for everything… something like our dog’s name or child’s name… You can be sure that is exactly what the computer hackers or internet thieves are counting on. Stealing from innocent people over the internet is rapidly becoming big business.

When a hacker uses software to crack passwords it starts by comparing the password to an extensive dictionary. Everyone should become as interested in protecting their financial integrity as they would in protecting their valuables in their home and car. You need to protect the valuables you have out over the Internet with the proper security and lockdowns by creating several strong effective passwords to use.

Here are some things you should not do:

  1. Never use a family member or pet’s name
  2. Never use any part of your social security number or birth date (if the thieves crack that password, then they just gained access to more crucial information, effortlessly.
  3. Never use the same password for all accounts (once they crack the password to one account, they have access to all the rest)
  4. Do not use any personal information
  5. Do not spell words backwards or use foreign words, password cracking software checks for these.

Helpful hints for safer passwords:

  1. Should be an alphanumeric password using uppercase and lowercase letters, plus special characters such as $, @, or !
  2. Password should be at least 8 characters long at the minimum, the longer the better
  3. Misspell a word intentionally or use your own shorthand
  4. Be creative, the word heartbreaks could be spelled: h3artbr8k$
  5. Make your password a sentence from a favorite song, book, quote or movie; just be sure to remove the spaces between each word.

Microsoft provides a website for you to test your password strength: https://www.microsoft.com/security/pc-security/password-checker.aspx

Some people have too many accounts that require a password and in order to remember all of them, they need to use a Password Manager. A Password Manager is software (sometimes free) that stores all your passwords in one place. This way you only have to remember one master password. There are several types of Password Managers; some types are software installed on your computer, a protected flash drive, a smart phone or a password management website.

For more information and how to get started with a Password Manager, try starting here: http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2817,2407168,00.asp

Deb Brimmer
Technology Coordinator

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