When you first start using the Internet, you will probably not be too concerned with password security except for money transactions and very private interests. However, as time goes on, three things will happen.
1. You will find that your number of accounts will grow. You will have social networking accounts, emails, online bank accounts, shopping accounts, forum accounts, magazine and newspaper subscriptions and a whole bunch of other services. Among these growing accounts are ones where you normally use password security. After a while this starts to get unwieldy.
2. When you publish something on your more open accounts, you will leave small pieces of your life there. As time goes on, this builds up. You might post some sensitive information and forget about it. Without password security, that can be a problem if a snooper shows up.
3. Another thing with these open accounts is that you will put a lot of work into some of them. Nothing is worse than seeing all that hard work destroyed or mutilated by a disgruntled hacker or Internet brat. The wise thing is to take password security seriously right from the start.
Here are some password security do’s and don’ts that should keep you and your accounts safe on the Internet.
1. Use your browser’s password manager along with another one like Keepass or Roboform.
2. Use strong passwords. Password security depends on this. A strong password is a random string of characters. It should be fairly long, the longer the more secure it will be. Use a combination of different letters, numbers, and symbols. Make it harder to crack by mixing uppercase and lowercase letters.
3. Use a password generator to ensure randomness. If you make up passwords yourself, you might include subconscious patterns without realizing it.
4. Use a different password for each account.
5. Use more than one password where possible for your really sensitive accounts.
6. Keep all passwords secret. Treat passwords with as much care as you do your most precious belongings. Password security exists to protect the pieces of your life scattered all over the Internet.
7. Change your passwords often. This is especially important for sensitive accounts. If you use a password manager, this duty to yourself to preserve your password security is no bother at all.
8. Protect recorded passwords and password databases. Lock them up if they are written down or use a very strong master password for the database.
1. Don’t use sequences or repeated characters in your passwords. This will totally undermine your password security.
2. Don’t use your login name, birthday, spouse’s name, etc. as a password. This is the worst cardinal password security sin.
3. Don’t use look-alike characters for numbers or symbols in your passwords, like replacing “i” with “1” or “a” with “@” as in “[email protected]$$w0rd.”
4. Don’t use dictionary words or words in other languages as passwords. This includes words spelled backwards, common misspellings, substitutions and profanity.
5. Don’t use online storage for your passwords or password database. Otherwise your password security will be under the care of a third party. You will be only as safe as that party is.
6. Don’t reveal your passwords to others, even friends or family members. This especially goes for children. This might be awkward at times, but password security requires it. A trustworthy person can inadvertently pass on a password to someone less so. Share passwords on a need to know basis only.
7. Don’t provide your passwords in emails or on Internet messengers, especially to a stranger. If you adhere to this one rule, you will never fall victim to a phishing scam or other breach of your password security.
8. Don’t type passwords on computers that you do not control. Public computers like ones at Internet cafï¿½s and airport lounges are not safe for sensitive accounts. Keystroke logging devices are cheap and criminals can install them in the blink of an eye. These logging devices record your passwords as you type them. You can imagine the rest.
If you follow these password security do’s and don’ts, your accounts will be much safer than those of most of the Internet users out there.