Passwords are what keep all your online accounts secure and private. They help you control who can access your accounts, files and keep personal information private.
A good password is described as strong. A strong password is one that is hard for a person to guess or for a computer to work out.
Here are a 10 tips to help you have a strong password.
1. don’t include any personal information in your password, such as your children’s name(s).
2. don’t include information that might be easy for others to discover, such as your address, workplace or your type of car.
3. use different passwords for different accounts. Don’t use the same password for everything (if someone discovers your password, all your accounts will be vulnerable). I switch between 3 different passwords for my online accounts, so that I only have 3 to remember.
4. instead of using a word for your password, create a password using the first letter of each word of a sentence, for example:
- the phrase “blogging about the internet is lots of fun” becomes the password, batiilof
- substitue letters with numbers and/or symbols = 6@t!!0f
- place a symbol at the beginning and end (to make it harder to guess) = *6@t!!0f?
5. parents/guardians should know their children’s passwords for two reasons:
- children have terrible memories
- children should not have online secrets from their parents/guardians
6. be careful of ticking the ‘remember me’ or ‘keep me logged in’ box on a public computer, such as in a library or community centre.
7. make sure you log out of your accounts when using a public computer, so that other users can’t access your accounts.
8. avoid writing passwords down, if you do, be careful not to identifying which account the password is for.
9. Change your passwords regularly.
10. Avoid sharing passwords with friends. Ask yourself do they really need access to your email or your Facebook account?
If you think someone has discovered the password for an online account change it immediately, and if appropriate report the breach to the website or company.
Have fun thinking up great passwords, the best ones are the ones that make you giggle when you think of the phrase on which they are based.
(image credit: flickr.com: John Kannenberg, “Passwords are like Bubblegum sign”)