Monday, March 04, 2013

Tips to make your Password Hack-proof


Rarely does a week go by without news of another hacking incident, whether it's Chinese hackers accused of breaking in to The New York Times' computer systems or Burger King finding its Twitter account taken over by pranksters. More serious are the hacking incidents that involve money thefts.

Security threats aren't new and have long been part of online life. But the increased attention on them makes now a good time to review ways you can protect yourself. If nothing here feels new, that's good, as it means you've been doing the things you need to do to keep your accounts safe from hackers. 

One of the best things you can do is to make sure your password is strong.
  • Make your password long. The recommended minimum is eight characters, but 14 is better and 25 is even better than that. Some services have character limits on passwords, though.
  •  Use combinations of letters and numbers, upper and lower case and symbols such as the exclamation mark. Some services won't let you do all of that, but try to vary it as much as you can. "PaSsWoRd!43" is far better than "password43."
  • Avoid words that are in dictionaries, even if you add numbers and symbols. There are programs that can crack passwords by going through databases of known words. One trick is to add numbers in the middle of a word - as in "pas123swor456d" instead of "password123456." Another is to think of a sentence and use just the first letter of each word - as in "tqbfjotld" for "the quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog."
  • Substitute characters. For instance, use the number zero instead of the letter O, or replace the S with a dollar sign. Although do not keep your password as "Pa$$w0rd". That's the most common password and the hackers tend to crack these kind of word combinations easily. Use complex words instead.
  • Avoid easy-to-guess words, even if they aren't in the dictionary.

Passwords- You should never keep

  • You shouldn't use your name, company name or hometown, for instance. 
  • Avoid pets and relatives' names, too. 
  • Avoid things that can be looked up, such as your birthday or ZIP code.
  • As a reminder, you should also avoid "password" as the password, or consecutive keys on the keyboard, such as "1234" or "qwerty."
  • Never reuse passwords on other accounts - with two exceptions. Over the years, I've managed to create hundreds of accounts. Many are for one-time use, such as when a newspaper website requires me to register to read the full story. It's OK to use simple passwords and repeat them in those types of situations, as long as the password isn't unlocking features that involve credit cards or posting on a message board. That will let you focus on keeping passwords to the more essential accounts strong.
Store your passwords digitally. Learn how.

No comments:

Post a Comment