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Securing Your Passwords

Passwords can be the weakest link in computer and Internet security. Strong passwords are important because password cracking tools continue to improve and to be more powerful.

The following are standard guidelines you need to take into consideration to make sure that the passwords you use on your computer and on the Internet are always secured:

Creating Strong Passwords

Good computer and Internet security includes the use of strong passwords for your accounts on your computer and on the Internet.

For a password to be strong and hard to break, it should:

  • Be at least 6 characters long.
  • Contain characters from each of the following 2 groups:
    Letters (uppercase and lowercase): A, B, C,...; a, b, c,...
    Numerals: 0, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9
  • When possible, it's also preferable to use Symbols in the password. Symbols are all characters not defined as letters or numerals:
    ` ~ ! @ # $ % ^ & * ( ) _ + - = { } | [ ] \ : " ; ' < > ? , . /
  • Be significantly different from your prior passwords, and from passwords you use in other applications or websites.
  • Not contain your name, date of birth, user name, and other obvious and known information about you.
  • Not be a common word or name.

Protecting Your Passwords

To ensure security, passwords must be used carefully. These recommendations will help protect your passwords:

  • Never write down your password.
  • Never share your password with anyone.
  • Never use the same password for another purpose. A different password for each website and application is always preferable.
  • Change your password every 60 to 90 days.
  • Change your password immediately if you think it has been compromised.
  • Never give access to your email account to anyone. This access can be abused to know your passwords.

Protecting Your Computer

There are many ways that your computer can be hacked, and accordingly your computer data (including passwords) accessed illegally. The most common mistake is to open an email attachment which gets your computer infected with a virus (Trojan Horse), and this creates a doorway that allows others to access your computer:

  • Never open an Email Attachment unless you know the person who sent it, and after scanning it with an Anti-Virus software.

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