My previous post discussed bad password habits you need to avoid or discontinue. In this post, we discuss the password habits you need to adopt.
Good Habits to Develop for Passwords
The following suggestions can help you safely use and manage your passwords on your computer and mobile devices:
- Avoid sharing your passwords with anyone in any way.
- Create strong passwords for your user accounts and update your passwords every 90 days. Many products and services require regular password updates.
- Create new passwords when updating. Don’t use minor variations of the same password. Most password managers can create secure passwords for you.
- Don’t use the Remember Me option for websites and apps. It might be inconvenient, having to sign in to your favorite websites and services every time, but it’s more secure.
- Sign out of web sites and apps before closing the app or browser.
- Use a password manager for creating, storing, and managing your passwords. You probably have too many to keep track of anyway.
- Use secure options to back up the master password for your password manager, such as writing it down and storing it in a secure filing cabinet, home safe, or safe deposit box.
- Make arrangements in your will or estate plan for securely transferring your passwords to your survivors. Make sure your family can access your online accounts when it becomes necessary.
- Only log in to websites and services over a secure wifi connection (one in which entered a password to access a wifi network). Don’t expose your usernames and passwords over open, unsecured wifi.
- Consider using a VPN (a virtual private network) to protect the passwords and other information you transmit over unsecured wireless networks or networks outside your home or office. There are numerous VPN services from which to choose.
A recent cnet roundup of password managers can help you decide which application can help you better manage your passwords on multiple devices.
Create Strong Passwords
Many products and services require a specific combination of characters (letters, numbers, and symbols) and a minimum length for user passwords. Here are some suggestions for creating strong passwords:
- Create a long password. Use 8-15 characters, minimum, such as D0r4l0nG!ng27.
- Create a password phrase. A password phrase is usually a nonsensical sentence or phrase like manage dog filing gypsum. However, for passwords, you’ll be using a combination of characters with no spaces, such as maN@geD0gf1L!ngGyP$uM.
- Use a combination of:
- Uppercase and lowercase letters
- Symbols (products and services will let you know if you use a symbol that’s not allowed)
- Don’t use personal information as part of your password.
- Don’t use your kid’s name, nickname, or birthdate as a password.
Remember: your passwords are your primary defense against unwanted intrusion in your accounts, hackers, fraud, and identity theft. Please contact Prime of Life Tech to discuss your security and password management needs.
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