Your computer and online accounts often have sensitive data associated with them, and a password is often all that stands between an identity thief and your private information. Maintaining good passwords is crucial to your security.
Creating good passwords
A good password takes a bit of effort to create, but is very much worth it. Use the following guidelines when choosing passwords:
- Make it at least 12 characters long
- Use a mix of symbols, numbers, uppercase letters, and lowercase letters
- Don't use a password you've used on another account or in the past
- Avoid spelling out words
- Avoid patterns on the keyboard
- Don't use portions of your username
- Don't use any personal information such as family names or ID numbers
- Don't include information associated with yourself
After following these guidelines, you may find that your password is a bit tough to remember. Try to use a mnemonic, such as creating a sentence or story where the first or last letter of each word corresponds to a character in the password.
Protecting your passwords
Protecting your password is usually as simple as not telling anyone your password, including friends and NetTechs. In addition, if you choose to write your password down, it should be in a location away from your electronic devices. Passwords that are written down should also not be obviously a password (i.e. don't write down "Password:" right before your password!).
If you have many accounts and have been making good passwords for each of them, you may find it overwhelming to keep track of them all. Using a password manager such as KeePass can help free up space in your mind for other things. Using a password manager does not make your passwords more secure; it only makes password management more convenient. Use the same precautions when creating a password for your password manager as you would for any other account. If you need assistance setting up a password manager, submit a help request.