TUCOWS ARTICLE

Guidelines for Creating Secure Passwords

If you do not have a secure password managing software these simple rules can help you protect yourself against identity theft:
Published: May 19, 2008
Author: Eugene Gindin

Dont

  • Use dictionary words, proper nouns, foreign words or words spelled backwards.

  • Use personal information in your password, such as your name, your child's name, your occupation, telephone number or birth date.

  • Share your password with anyone! Not your spouse, secretary or boss.

  • Write your password on a post-it note or anywhere that is easily accessible. It's best not to write it down at all.

  • Rely on Internet Explorer's AutoComplete function. This is an insecure method of storing your passwords on your computer.

  • Allow a website to store your password. Passwords saved on remote servers are not secure.

  • Keep a record or list of your passwords in an unencrypted file on your computer or PDA.

  • Choose or change your passwords on a public computer or in a public place such as an Internet cafe.

  • Use the same password on multiple accounts.

  • Use common words for passwords, such as password, qwerty, 1111, admin, etc.

Do


  • Use a combination of upper- and lowercase letters, numbers and special characters.

  • Make your password at least 6 characters long.

  • Replace letters with similar characters. For example, replace:

    A with @

    B with 8

    E with 3

    G with 6

    H with 4

    I with 1

    L with 7

    N with ^

    S with 5 or $

  • Change your password regularly - at least once every three months.

  • Log off after you have finished using a site and close your browser to prevent others from gaining access to any personal details online.

  • Make the password hard to guess but easy to remember by following these rules.

    1. Use the first letter from every word in your favorite expression, lyric, poem or movie. For example, "To boldly go where no man has gone before" could lead you to the following password: 2Bgw^Mhgb4

    2. Choose a word as your password, but substitute sters. For example, Footballay become $n3ak3rs.

    3. Choose a password that you want to use and then come up with a keystroke mapping system. For example, if you choose to do an "upper-left" keystroke system you would choose the letter to the upper-left of the actual key you wanted. So "hellobob" would become "t3ii9g9g."

Of course if you use strong passwords for many different sites you will likely have a difficult time remembering them. To make password management easier and even more secure, you can use software such as the RoboForm Password Manager (www.roboform.com), which securely stores your usernames and passwords and allows you to log into websites automatically. RoboForm also comes with a built-in password generator with which choosing strong passwords becomes a breeze.

A software package like RoboForm allows you to use strong passwords for your numerous logins; you will only need to remember one master password, and you'll have the benefit of strong passwords without the hassle.


About Eugene Gindin

Eugene Gindin manages internal marketing for Siber Systems Inc. makers of RoboForm and GoodSync products. Since 1999 Eugene has been involved with IT marketing, targeting the private sector as well as the local and federal government. Experienced in various forms of marketing and advertising for both domestic as well as international markets, most recently he has been advocating products that make the experience for every day internet users easier and more secure.

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