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How to Protect your Passwords!

08.30.12

Author: Isabelle Leichtman 

With the recent security breaches of popular websites such as LinkedIn, password security has become an important issue for both personal and corporate information.  Having strong and secure passwords can prevent sensitive information from being compromised by hackers or scammers.  So the AdvantEdge Business Centers’s blog has compiled a few tips for creating smart passwords on your behalf! 

Make sure your password is not a common word or number pattern.  Author Mark Burnett has created a list of the 10,000 most common passwords.  He found that 91% percent of the people he sampled have passwords in the top 1,000 most common passwords.  Having an easy-to-guess password puts your computer at high risk for a hacker to gain access.

Make your password complicated.  The more complicated your password is, the better.  This means you shouldn’t use words that you can find in the dictionary or an obvious series of number such as your birthday.  In Jason Fell’s blog on Entrepreneur.com, he cites tips from Ed Barrett, the VP of marketing and channel sales for the software security company SecurityCoverage.  Barrett suggests creating a password that is at least 14 characters long (as long as the site allows it) and mixing it up with numbers as well as upper and lower case letters.  Using symbols is another way to make the password more obscure.

Create a unique password for different platforms.  Having the same password, while it may be the easiest alternative for you, makes all of your information vulnerable if just one platform is compromised.  That means if a hacker gains access to one of your social media sites, they could potentially have access to your email, credit card information, banking information, etc.

 

"The more complicated your password is, the better. This means you shouldn’t use words that you can find in the dictionary or an obvious series of number such as your birthday". 

Keep your passwords organized.  If you have trouble keeping all of your different passwords in order, both Barrett and Kevin Smith of businessinsider.com offer sources for using third party to help manage your passwords.  They suggest tools such as Password Genie and LastPass  which allow you to just remember one master password.  These password managers also help you to create strong and “uncrackable” passwords.

Take proper measures to enable security software on your computer system.  There are various security systems which you can utilize that regularly scan files and search for malware, viruses, suspicious email content, etc.  If you are taking security measures for your business, enabling encryption technology is also vital to maintaining good security.  Anand Naik, Managing Director of Sales, India and SAARC, Symantec, stresses the importance of using proper security technology for personal and business use.  For businesses, he also emphasizes enforcing a policy for employees that educates them on internet safety, potential email threats, creating strong passwords, etc.   Not only with these measures protect employees’ personal information but also information pertaining to the company.

Last but not least, check out this fascinating infographic for further tips!

Written by Trey Jones

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