Tips for Keeping Your Computer Safe: Passwords

Ben Greisler  owner   Kadimac Corp

There are many facets of computer security and in this post we will talk about one of the most basic, passwords. Think for a moment about all the services you use that require a password. Didn’t take long to think of a dozen or more did it? 

Computer and software companies go to great lengths to help keep your data secure. Nowadays most of your data is encrypted while passing through the Internet if you use cloud services such as data storage and email and this helps prevent bad guys from seeing the content of your data. But, almost all of those systems rely on a password to access the data and this is a self-induced weakness in the system.  

Why do I say it is a self-induced weakness? Simple, we are almost all guilty of reusing passwords and passwords that are predictable, weak and left in use too long. I do it, you do it, we all do it. Here are some tips to make it easier to have better security via passwords: 

1.      Use passphrases rather than passwords. Rather than an impossible password to remember like “#wT23!hZ54M” use something like, “duck 1932 Caddy! Fun.” Yes, spaces count as characters and the extra length of the phrase makes cracking it extra tough.

2.      Use a different password for each place you need one. This is tough as it can be hard to remember all of them so use a password organizer such as Keychain in OS X, 1Password or any other of your choice. Remember that most of the password organizers use a master password to keep the rest of the passwords safe making the master password security even more important.

3.      Rotate your passwords. I know this one is tough but for very important passwords used in your daily life and are potentially more damaging if they get compromised, changing them can really help keep your data safe. You don’t have to change the whole passphrase but maybe just one portion of it so it remains easier to remember.

4.      Get to know what a secure connection looks like in your web browser. All web browsers will show something like a lock symbol when it has an encrypted connection via something called SSL. If it is asking for a password, look for the lock symbol first. If you don’t see one, it may be a fake or broken site and could expose your password to others.

5.      Writing your password on a sticky note? Not a good idea and we know where to look for it.

6.      Bonus tip: Never give anyone your password over the phone even if they sound official. This could be what is called “social engineering” and has proven to be one of the easiest ways to get a persons password; just ask them.

 Ben Greisler is the owner of Kadimac Corp, a computer consulting firm specializing in helping companies access their data securely from any place on any device. Look him up on Amazon and then visit http://www.kadimac.com

Tips for Keeping Your Computer Safe: Passwords
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