PASSWORD:HOW SECURE ARE YOU?
I have heard many people saying “my password is one of my daughter’s birth date” or “ I always use the same password for everything I do cause I can’t afford to forget them”. If this is how far you can hide your password then you’re like a child playing hide and seek by just covering his face with his hands. Then how secure is your “easy-to-crack” password? I think I need to tell you what a password is.
Password is a key. It is like a magic key to a secret vault containing millions of gold that voyagers have been on the look-out for centuries. The key can be conjured to appear and disappear. Fortunately, this key is in your hands for keep. The secret name you give to it commands its potency to open the secret vault. Given this illustration;
1. Would you give this key your daughter’s name or your birth date?
2. Would you write the name in your wallet or keep it under your pillow so that you don’t forget it?
3. Would you tell everybody (including your friends and family members) about the key and the lovely name you just gave to your secret key?
If your answers to the three questions above is in the affirmative, then you’re among those I called ROOKIES. You’re a novice because you are highly susceptible to fraud and information leakages.
10 Rules Guiding a Password
The simple lesson from the above illustration is that you are the only person that suppose to know your password particularly if you’re into online business.
i. Keep your password on your head only*
ii. Never write it anywhere
iii. Do not use date of birth or a name that can easily be arrived at.
iv. If at all you would need to write your password, better write the clue
v. Make the clue understandable to you
vi. Don’t use keyboard pattern e.g qwerty or sequence like 13579
vii. If you have on screen keyboard option, use it instead of your normal keyboard
viii. As you will not send somebody to urinate for you, never give your password to anybody to access information for you
ix. Change your password as often as you can
x. Never forget your password. To get it back might be costly if at all you’re able
How to arrive at a secure password
• Create a unique acronym
• The longer the password, the more difficult the hacking permutation becomes
• No matter how short you want it, keep the characters above 8 units
• Use combinations of alphabets and numbers when allowed
• Do not use a dictionary word
• Do not use a slang, slogan, or common saying
• Include punctuation marks (.’;/.) and/or special characters (#@!$%*+_) when allowed
• Mix upper and lower case alphabets to arrive at a strong password e.g password
• You may include space
• You can try password generator. Though the one generated through this means are usually strong but difficult to remember.
• Always log out when you finished
You don’t want to forget your password?
The safest place to keep your password is in your brain. There is a common saying that “the faintest ink is better than the sharpest brain”; yet it is not safe to write down your password. However, you can try a PASSWORD SAFE to keep hard-to-remember passwords. The one I would recommend is Bruce Scheiner password safe. If you don’t know, password safe is a tool that allows you to have a different password for all programmes and websites that run on your computer without having to remember any. Password safe runs on PCs under Windows (95/98/NT/2000/XP). You can find one here: http//password safe.source.forge.net