Passwords allow you to control access to a computer system, but it is important to practice good password management. Think of your password like a house key – it enables you to lock up your house, but you have to keep the key in a safe location.
Creating a strong password
- Use at least 8 characters.
- Use a combination of upper case, lower case, number and special characters.
- Don’t use personal information that someone else can easily guess (e.g. birthday, car registration number, spouse name).
- Do not use words found in a dictionary. Hacking software programs can try every word in its dictionary within minutes. Most dictionary attack programs also check proper names, common misspellings, and words with numbers.
- Pick a phrase that you can easily remember. For example, if the phrase is “I love my Converse shoes a lot”, you could create the password “_!lmC5@+”.
- Don’t write down your password. If you must write it down, do not leave it out in the open (e.g. on a sticky note attached to your keyboard).
- Don’t share your password with others, even your close friends.
- Don’t use the same password for different accounts (e.g. Email, Facebook, PayPal, eBay).
- Change your password every 3 months.