The Do's and Don'ts of Password Security

Security System Access Password Data Network Surveillance Concep

By now, most of us know the basics of making a password for an online account, but how do you gauge how strong it is? What can you do to strengthen your password? And how do you know if it’s secure? With cybersecurity under scrutiny recently, creating a strong password has become a top priority for anyone with an online account.

One study shows that users from 25 to 34-year-olds are signed up to an average of 40 accounts. The number is set to grow, with nearly one in five people (17%) signing up to six or more new accounts every month.¹ Given that individuals have this many accounts, users are shown to have an average of only 5 different passwords. Repeating passwords is bad business, as it leaves users other accounts vulnerable to hackers.

What Can You Do?

With the help of code breaking programs, a weak or repeating password is easy into hackers everywhere. Using a password manager, like KeePass and Dashlane, can help create and store passwords for you, but it is important to know how to make a password that can stand up to code-breaking software.

Password Do’s and Don’ts:

  • DON’T follow a pattern. An extremely common and easy to hack pattern is the one uppercase followed by 3-5 lowercase with 2-5 digits.
  • DO use a mix of numbers, symbols, capital and lower-case letters
  • DON’T use common substitutions. Substituting numbers for letters is the first thing that code breakers are programmed to check.
  • DO follow the 12-14 character minimum rule. The longer the password, the better
  • DON’T use obvious dictionary words or combinations. For example: Dog or Brown Dog
  • DO use acronyms. “I got my first job the year I turned 22. I loved it.” translates into Igmfjtyit22.Ili. This is an extremely secure password as it is 16 characters, with a mix of upper and lower-case, with symbols, and numbers.
  • DON'T enter information on phishing websites. These are websites that use legitimate looking addresses (like your bank, credit card company, etc.) to obtain your information. Always check with the company before complying.

Using a strong password won’t protect you from all of the threats that are online but it is a great first step. By following the do’s and don’ts of password construction your information will be more secure, leaving you with greater peace of mind.