Digital Security Month Tech Tip 1
Happy Digital Security Month. For the entire month of October you will see tips and suggestions given out to help users safeguard their data (files, passwords, personal information). I mean lets face it. We live in a computer dominated society. It is very easy to take for granted the information we put about ourselves online can been seen by unintended parties. Information that can expose the location, financial information, user accounts of ourselves, family members and friends. So hopefully over the course of the next month you may see a tip or two that will help you protect your data more effectively.
Tip Number 1: Long Passwords
Passwords. We all have them. Many of us have short, easy to remember passwords because who wants to type in all those characters right? Furthermore many more reuse those short easy to remember passwords on more than one website. In the words of a famous TV Robot “Danger (insert name here) Danger”.
Short non complex passwords rank among the top reasons why people loose control of their user accounts and have their personal computers hacked into. So at bare minimum remember these three tips:
Long Passwords (Passphrase)
Have you ever used the name of your hamster or your mother's birthdate as your password. How would you ever forget that right? Well the problem with short easy to remember passwords is that modern computers can run through all the possible versions of a simple lowercase eight character password in less than a workday. Increase that password to 12 characters and it would take a modern computer hundreds of years to break. So make sure to make those passwords as long as possible. Fourteen to Sixteen characters is a good minimum to keep in mind.
A simple password security tip a lot of users don't think about using is not making passwords only consist of alphabet characters. The password “mydogmax” takes about five hours to crack. Replacing a couple of those characters with capitals, numbers, and special characters will take the time it takes to crack that password to over ten years. So remember when creating passwords to always mix in capitals, digits, and special characters (i.e. !,@,#,$,%,&,*,(,)).
Never Use The Same Password Twice
Fight the urge to use a password regardless of how complex and clever it is on multiple sites. Websites and services are broken into everyday. And if you use your password on multiple sites and one of those sites is broken into those hackers will try the passwords they find on any of the major websites on the Internet. So as annoying as it may be use a different password for each site you use.