All too often we are seeing business professionals in small and large organizations improperly using passwords. Creating weak passwords are way too easy for hackers, criminals and automated hacking programs to notice and break. This results in criminals misusing personal information by accessing confidential files that can set you and/or your business up for great financial loss (in addition to other serious consequences). Many times when you are signing up to become a new member on a website, you will see password rules along the lines of this:

password_strength1

Following these guidelines are still important today even with websites you think have the best security and even when you don’t see password guidelines (it should never be assumed that creating a strong password is not required). Considering the countless number of company websites that have been targets of hacking attacks (i.e. Facebook, Microsoft etc.) it would not be any harder for your accounts to be hacked as well! So, unless you are otherwise instructed:

Building a strong password should include:

  • Lowercase letters (i.e. a-z)
  • Uppercase letters (i.e. A-Z)
  • Numbers (i.e. 0-9)
  • Punctuation (i.e. #, &, ?…)
  • At least 6 characters or more

In addition to the above points, a strong password could include:

  • A memorable phrase with numbers and punctuation as substitute letters (i.e. ‘HelloKitty’ password becomes ‘h3l0Kt1!’)

What should not be included in passwords are:

  • Easy sequences and/or words (i.e. abc, 123, password..)
  • Birth dates (i.e. Jan9, mar_1989…)
  • Names (i.e. your name, your company name…)
  • The same values used as the sign-in/online ID (i.e. test@test with password ‘test’, ‘honey@gmail.com’ with password ‘honey’)

As a general rule of thumb, changing passwords every 3-4 months is also a good way to be on the safe side. Hope this information helps!

 

 

By: Keshra Lucille

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