Passwords, everyday we use them, forget them, remember them….but what makes a good password?
Passwords (passphrases) are an important aspect of information security. Hackers and identity thieves are constantly looking for ways to steal people’s usernames, passwords, and other personal information, which they can then use for their own illegal purposes or financial gain. Simple passwords may cause a security breach, resulting in the theft of your user accounts. Once compromised, your account could be used to launch attacks on other Kendal College systems, companies, or institutions around the world. If someone else could figure out your password, they could assume your electronic identity. Hackers use software programs that attempt to crack users’ passwords and they are pretty effective at guessing passwords that are considered weak. Thus, it is very important to create a strong password that you can remember easily, but that is very difficult for others to guess.
Tips on creating a good password
- Do use a password with mixed-case alphabetic
- Do use a password with non alphabetic characters, e.g., digits or punctuation
- Do use a password that is easy to remember, so you don’t have to write it down
- Do use a password that you can type quickly, without having to look at the keyboard. This makes it harder for someone to steal your password by watching over your shoulder
- Don’t use your login name in any form (as-is, reversed, capitalized, etc.)
- Don’t use your first or last name in any form
- Don’t use your spouse’s or child’s name
- Don’t use other information easily obtained about you. This includes license plate numbers, telephone numbers, the brand of your car, the name of the street you live on, etc.
- Don’t use a password of all digits, or all the same letter. This significantly decreases the search time for a cracker
- Don’t use a password shorter than six characters
Although this list may seem to restrict passwords to an extreme, there are several methods for choosing secure, easy-to-remember passwords that obey the above rules. Some of these include the following:
- Alternate between one consonant and one or two vowels, up to eight characters. This provides nonsense words that are usually pronounceable, and thus easily remembered. Examples include “routboo,” “quadpop,” and so on.
- Choose two short words and concatenate them together with a punctuation character between them. For example: “dog;rain,” “book+mug,” “kid?goat.”
- Use a password Manager. Let a software package create a long string of characters as your password.