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Tech Bytes - PasSwORd: Do’s and Don’ts

By Mitchell Walbridge

Fri, Jul 5th, 2013
Posted in All Columnists

PasSwORd: Do’s and Don’ts

The average person has to remember more than ten passwords or PIN numbers for various login information. That’s ten more items to keep fresh in our minds when we struggle to remember to pay some of our bills, forget where we placed our car keys, or even forgot about an important appointment. Am I right? As tempting as it may be to use the same password for numerous account credentials, it’s really not such a good idea no matter how many diverse accounts you may have.

So, use a different password for private accounts such as personal email and personal online banking. Developing strong passwords is key, so they should include numbers, letters and if possible, symbols. If that webhost permits case sensitive password, it also doesn’t hurt to throw in a capital letter here or there.

And, if you’re really good about maintaining secure passwords, you’d come up with phrases that mean something to you and recreate them with letters or numbers.

OK, now you’ve created your passwords, but how do you properly maintain them? First, make sure that your password recovery data is up to date. There’s nothing worse than not being able to recover a lost or forgotten password (except for having your account hacked, of course).

Next, it is acceptable to maintain a written documentation of your account names and passwords. However, it is unwise to keep them within clear sight of other people. It’s also not wise to leave them sitting right on your desk or near your computer. You may want to leave usernames and passwords in two separate locations.

As password maintenance isn’t already complex enough, it is a good idea to change your passwords regularly. Experts suggest passwords need to be changed every 180 days minimally.

If your password is password or your username plus the numbers 123, 123456, your birthday, your children’s’ birthdays, your dog’s name, your last name, your maiden name, your phone number, your address … I could go on all day. Basically, if your password is as typical as any of the above mentioned, it may be time to switch it up.

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