Do's and Don'ts of Creating Passwords

     

Password security is one of those things that you don't think about until its too late, here we outline a simple list of Do's and Don'ts when picking a secure password. Hint: if you password is a simple dictionary word with a couple numbers its not secure.

DO:

  • Use at least 8 characters.
  • Include a digit or punctuation.
  • Use upper and lower case.
  • Choose a phrase or combination of words to make the password easier to remember.
  • May be two words separated by a non-letter non-digit.
  • Use different passwords on different machines.
  • Change password regularly and don't reuse passwords or make minor variations such an incrementing a digit.

DON’T:

  • Use the account name
  • A word from the dictionary or a name of a person
  • Use any reference to pop culture; movies, books, songs, religion
  • Use keyboard sequences; QWERTY, or ASDFGHJKL
  • Use reversed words
  • Use words with the vowels deleted
  • Use the first letter capitalized
  • User only vowels or consonants in uppercase
  • Anything that personally relates to you
    • Name of school
    • Birthday
    • Friends names
    • Street names
    • Serial numbers
    • Social security number
    • Use publicly shown examples of good passwords
    • Translated words from other languages

A simple way to make a strong password that covers these characteristics is to think of a sentence, “Password Security is not something to take lightly” then use the first letters from each word "PSINSTTL". We now have an 8 character random looking password; from here we alter it to make it more difficult “p51NStT!”. While it might not be feasible for everyone to have such a difficult password, but the more effort you put into it the less likely it will be stolen.

IT Guide for Small Business Owners

About The Author

President of NSI, Tom has been helping small and medium businesses succeed in Connecticut for over 25 years.