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Creating a Strong Password

Having a strong password is critical to ensuring your computer systems and data are protected. If even one person in your office has a weak password, then your systems have the potential of being compromised. It can be difficult to create and remember effective strong passwords. The following are some points to consider and tricks you can use to create and remember passwords that are less likely to be compromised.

Make your password complex.

A good password has UPPER and lower case letters, numbers and special characters (!@#$%^&*).

Do not use a phrase.

Passwords like IDon’tWant2Work are not good passwords. It follows the rule above but can be easily compromised. Even changing letters to numbers is not considered safe anymore, like 1D0n’tWant2W0rk.

Phrases can work if the words are not related.

For example D0gBeachCh0pper! Meets the first and second rule. If you pick the random words effectively then you can create a picture in your mind of a helicopter landing on a beach with a dog in the background. That is easier to remember than just the random words.

Change your password every 90 days.

This is critical. A very common hacking approach is called a brute force attack. This is when a hacker runs a special program that tries all possible password combinations. The more often you change your password the better you are protected against this hacking approach.

Random characters are the best passwords.

Just bang your keyboard randomly and you can get a great password like ag-Df93n4k but that can be hard to remember. Here is a trick, if you have a book by your computer, all you need to do is remember a random page number. Then flip to that page and take the first letter from each of the first 10 words. Add in a number and a special character and voila. I have Jim Collins’ book Good to Great by my desk. If I were to flip to page 27, the first line of that page reads “…year on the job and the next in line faced…” So I could turn that into yotjatnilf. Capitalize the y, add a zero for the o and change the l to a ! and I get Y0tjatni!f. Now if you forget your password, all you need to remember is page 27 of the book by your computer.

Do not write your password down.

This may sound like a no brainer but there are people who write it on a sticky note and put it on their computer screen, or in a drawer of their desk. Imagine someone broke into your office, they not only wanted to steal your computer but wanted access to your data. If they can quickly find your reminder notes then you are essentially handing over the keys to your data. Everyone has a responsibility to protect company and personal data. By adopting strong password policies for yourself and everyone in your organization, you are one step closer to protecting your business from cyber attacks. You should also consider safe emailing practices in your business. Request a Safe Emailing Session to learn more about the best practices you and your employees should be aware of.


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