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Category: Identity Theft

Password Strength is Vital in Protecting Your Business and Personal Information

In today’s technologically driven marketplace one of the most overlooked points of vulnerability to business and personal security is the strength (or weakness) of the passwords we use to log into our networks, email providers, online banking, accounting and/or payroll applications. To underestimate the importance of a strong password is to be vulnerable to identity theft and corporate piracy.

We have been conditioned to use weak passwords. For many people the first password we ever needed was the four digit code for our ATM cards. Malicious computer deciphering programs can run through all of the possible combinations in a matter of seconds. The same types of programs can run through all of the words in the dictionary, plus most common names, in multiple languages even spelled backwards, in a matter of minutes.

How do you come up with strong passwords that you can actually remember?

A good method is to come up with a phrase that is meaningfully unique to you, and will therefore be something you will remember. Use the first or last letter of each word to create a string of characters. For example: “I love muscle cars and custom motorcycles” would be “Ilmcacm” or “Iemsdms.” You could also replace one or more of the characters with its numeric position in the alphabet or a special character to get “Ilm3a3m” or “Ilmc@cm.”Add a suffix or prefix to make it unique to each application that you will use it for. Have a Yahoo account? Use “YeIlm3a3m.” A Chase bank account? Use “CbIl3ma3m.”

Now that you have strong passwords, use them wisely.

Do not write them down on a sticky note and put them under your keyboard or behind your monitor.
Do not store them in the file system of your computer.
Do not use your passwords on computers that are open to the general public, such as those found in Internet cafes, airports or mall kiosks.
Do not enter user names and passwords (or any other piece of personal information) on unsecured websites.