By Laura Yecies
I have to admit, I got blocked out of an old Web e-mail account the other day. After I ran through my entire list of passwords I’ve used over the past decade or so, the system booted me out and locked my account.
It wasn’t that tragic. It’s probably been three years since I last even thought to check this particular account. I’d long ago trained just about everyone to use my Yahoo account. But during the (many) login tries, I was reminded of just how bad some of my passwords have been over the years. I mean, for the first five years I was on the ‘Net, I actually used my children’s name. Yes, true. BUT…in my defense, there was little to be concerned about in those days. Not only were hacks pretty unsophisticated, but the info in my e-mail was limited to kid pics and joke chain e-mails.
Passwords today are a prime commodity for hackers. Across multiple Web properties, we all tend to use the same password over and over, or variations. So once they’ve cracked it, chances are the damage can go much further than reading your love letters in your e-mail.
My best advice, be creative, and conscientious when choosing a password.
• Use a minimum of eight characters
• If allowed, use both upper-and-lower case letters
• Include at least one number and at least one character (IE # $ @ &)
• Use random characters instead of words or phrases found in the dictionary
• Make it easy enough to remember!
• Reset your passwords immediately if you have any suspicion it’s been stolen
• IF you must write it down, make sure you keep the paper in a secure location. Do not tape it to your PC or leave it in the desk drawer.
And don’t pick your pets, your (or your spouse’s) maiden name, birthdays, anniversaries etc. These are all commonly used and even more commonly guessed.
Also, did you know that we offer a Password Manager in our Partner Store? You can find it here: http://www.zonealarm.com/store/content/catalog/catalog_partners.jsp