Everywhere you go on the web, each website asks you to sign up for a free account to use their services or play a game or ask questions on their forums. This leads to a large number of logon ID’s and passwords and a strong temptation to reuse the same password over and over again. Don’t do it.
Particularly, don’t reuse passwords for your banking and shopping accounts.
Cyber criminals are always trying to get your passwords, sometimes directly from you – and they have lots of tricks for that – or sometimes from other sources. The website for talk show host Bill O’Reilly was hacked last year and passwords for thousands of his fans were stolen. Some of those fans used the same passwords for their online banking and, well, you can see the problems that brought.
Here are five simple rules to help you keep your passwords secure.
1. Avoid reusing passwords.
Never, ever, use the same passwords for online financial services (banking, brokerage, credit cards, etc.). And don’t use your ATM card PIN for an online password. Keep them all completely different.
If you really need to use the same password for forum type online accounts, make them unique each time by — adding CaPiT@l LeTT3Rs, nUmb3rs and sy/\/\b0ls and — using strange mizpelings
2. Avoid real words as much as possible. Combine weird words to make them different and then add in the numbers and symbols. Never resort to the words “password” or “mypassword” or “LetMeIn”, even if misspelled and full of numbers. Don’t do it.
3. Don’t use names; not even pet names; no matter how unique. Don’t use birthdays either. These are the first things searched for and tried by hackers.
4. Don’t write down your passwords – especially at work or in your home office. If you must write them down, don’t file them in an obvious place; like on a sticky note stuck on your computer monitor or a slip of paper under the keyboard. Don’t put them in a folder called “passwords”.
5. Same rules for files on your computer. Don’t leave passwords in a file on your computer “desktop”. Don’t name your password document with words like “info”, “personal”, “passwords” or any words like “security” or “keys”. Find out if your operating system offers a way to encrypt that document and, if it does, use it. Then put that away some place far away from prying eyes.
Mike Pepper ~ Computer Guy