I am re-posting a series of articles on passwords. Most of us are vulnerable to many and varied threats to our computers, and we must do everything we can to protect against these attacks. The proper use of passwords is essential to be more safe in this incredibly dangerous environment we’re exposed to each time we use the Internet or open an email. Your attention and response to this four part series will arm you against many threats.
In Passwords Part I: Why Do We Need Them? we discussed the importance of using strong passwords. In this post, we’ll describe strong passwords.
So, what makes a password weak or strong…aren’t they all the same? Well, no…they aren’t the same, especially to hackers and their password-breaking programs as mentioned in Part I. Essentially what makes a password strong is its length in characters and the combination of capital and lower case letters, numbers and symbols. You see, a strong password should resemble a string of random characters to a hacker. Let’s take these characteristics one at a time.
The longer the password the stronger it is. Your password should be at least 8 characters in length and the more characters you add, the stronger it will be. Fourteen characters or more is ideal. I know…right about now you’re saying, “I have a hard time remembering my cell phone number; how am I going to remember a password with all these characters?” Settle down, don’t get all puffy faced…I’ll tell you how to create and remember the strongest passwords in Passwords Part III: Six Steps to A Strong Password You Can Remember.
Mixing up your types of characters will also add strength to your password. For instance, capitalizing some letters and not others will help. Using numbers and symbols will also strengthen it. Remember, the more variety of characters in your password, the harder it is for hackers to guess. I’ve always been one that follows the Keep It Simple Stupid (KISS) principal, but this is one time complexity is a very good thing.
Remember, home computing is a blast…keep it productive and enjoyable.