Think Before You Type
If a hacker gets your password, they have the key to steal your identity. Before you type in your password online, think: "Is my password secure?" Consider these statistics:
- 8-character passwords can be cracked in two hours.
- 10-character passwords can be cracked in a few days.
- 12-character passwords may take years to break.
In addition to using at least a 12-character password, there are a number of simple things that you can do to protect yourself and strengthen your password.
- Never write your password down.
- Never share your password with anyone (including the I.T. Help Desk).
- Create a different password for each account.
- Use a password vault to secure all your passwords (see Password Vaults below).
- Avoid using personal information such as names of people or pets, birthdays, or telephone numbers.
- Create a passphrase (see Use a Passphrase below for examples).
- Use misspelled words.
- Use a mixture of upper and lowercase letters.
- Use numbers in positions other than the first or last character.
- Use punctuation marks or symbols (!, #, %, $) independently or as a replacement for a letter.
Use a Passphrase
Passphrases are an easy way to create strong passwords that are easy to remember. For example, you can string together three unrelated words, like roof-panda-pear. Or, think of a 12 or more word phrase and take the first letter of each word to make a password (e.g. Don't be a feather in the wind, take ownership of your life, dbafitwtooyl).
Use a Password Vault
To manage multiple passwords, consider using a free encrypted password vault such as KeePass, LastPass or OnePassword to keep your passwords secure. Visit the websites, listed below, for additional information regarding these products.