5 Steps to Better Password Protection

Security and confidentiality are the bywords of the internet and the last barrier before your valuable data is the password.  Unfortunately, many users defy logic and common sense by using common terms or familiar data for their passwords.  Unauthorized access is likely either by acquaintances or mischievous individuals.  Here are five steps to establishing a robust and strong password

  1. Select 8 symbols that that use any lower case letter, any upper case letter, any special character (*%$#@&) and any number. For instance, you can convert a familiar terms to something that seems unintelligible. For example I converted “USC Trojans 2011
    to “ UsC&Trj11”
  2. Avoid using the same password on multiple web sites and applications. Although it is tempting, a breach in one system will expose all of your other web information to intrusion.
  3. Saving passwords onto regular paper is sufficient only if that paper is secured by some kind of physical lock to a physical barrier between the intruder and you.  You can keep on your person or in a locked cabinet or drawer.
  4. Change your password every 90 days, more frequently if you are overly concerned about security. I change my passwords in waves and start with the applications I use most often and proactively to those I don’t when I have the time
  5. Lastly, don’t lend your password out to anyone that you don’t absolutely trust. Remember that learning one of your passwords will help intruders guess your other passwords since most users use the same term or same data to make new passwords.

In summary, passwords are not the only protection that web sites employ for your security. Luckily, web sites can use multiple methods to strengthen security measures over and above passwords. However, mischief and even theft is attractive if a password is made available.

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References:

Anonymous “Password Length vs. Password Strength “Information Systems Auditing” Available online at http://www.jedge.com/wordpress/2009/10/password-length-vs-password-strength/ Retrieved on 09 SEP 2011

Connolly, J. “20 popular and easy to guess passwords! The Tech News Blog. Available online at http://thetechnewsblog.com/2010/01/30/20-popular-and-easy-to-guess-passwords/.  Retrieved on 09 SEP 2011

About Richard Hom OD, MPA

Dr. Hom holds Doctor of Optometry and Masters in Public Administration degrees and practices family eye care and consults on public policy, health information technology and program evaluation.
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