New Year … New Password … Make it STRONG

Posted: Dec 31, 2013

New Year … New Password … Make it STRONG

John M. Haddad

Have you changed your password recently?

The New Year is a great time to ensure your security of your passwords by changing them. At a minimum, focus on changing your passwords that access financial sites (credit cards, bank accounts, etc) and your email passwords.

Most major corporations require employees to change passwords every 30-60 days, so your business should adopt similar strategies.

Why do we still use simple passwords?

Last year, hackers made off with–and then posted online–hundreds of thousands of user passwords from popular Gawker websites like Gizmodo and Lifehacker.  The Wall Street Journal analyzed those passwords and discovered that the most popular ones were barely passwords at all:

  • 123456
  • password
  • 12345678
  • lifehack
  • qwerty

And it gets worse: In a 2009 survey, security firm Sophos determined that one-third of all users employ the same password for everything they do online. That means that if hackers get your password for one site, they will have t it for all the other sites you use.

Make your passwords strong!

Change your passwordsMake sure your passwords are strong passwords. Simply putting your date of birth or pet’s name will not cut it. Because of information about you on social media sites, a hacker can easily find out this information and try to figure out your password.

Your password should be a minimum of 8 characters and contain a mix of upper case letters, lowercase letters, numbers and special characters. To help you remember a password, take a phrase like “My Son’s Birthday is June 21” and create a password like “Mi$unsBd@yiz621”. You get the idea.  The longer your password, the better. Most sites require at least six characters, but if you can stretch it out to 10 or 12, you’ll raise its level of protection by several orders of magnitude. (More characters means more possible combinations, making it harder to crack.)

Contact us if you need advice or help in laying out a security strategy for you business.

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About the author

John M. Haddad
John Haddad is the Principal and Owner of Bisinet Technologies, LLC. He has been in the Information Technology (IT) field for over 40 years. Over his career, he has held positions in all aspects of technology … programming, systems analysis, project management, infrastructure support, systems architecture, IT Management and web development. He continues to work with many small businesses and non-profits in the local area to provide technology consultation, web design and cloud solutions.