Your Password: Keys to the Castle

Passwords provide the first line of defense against unauthorized access to your computer. Weak passwords make it easier for attackers to access your computers and network. Strong passwords are considerably harder to crack, even with the latest password-cracking software. The use of strong passwords can slow or often defeat the various attack methods of compromising your computer security.
Here’s how to create a secure password — and, more importantly, how to keep it safe.

  • Use a unique password for each of your accounts and devices. Re-using passwords is risky. If someone figures out your password for one, it’s possible they could access your other accounts or devices.
  • Use at least eight characters. By using eight characters comprised of letters, numbers, and symbols, your eight character password has 30,000 more possible combinations than if you use lower case letters only. Which brings us to our next tip…
  • Use a mix of letters, numbers, and symbols (!, @, #, $, %, etc.). A mixture of characters makes your password more complex and therefore more difficult to use either a dictionary or brute-force attacks to break it.
  • Don’t use personal information or common words. Don’t include your real name, Social Security number, company name, or a complete dictionary word in your password. Instead, select a random word or phrase and insert letters and numbers into the beginning, middle, and end to make it more complicated (such as "sPo0kyh@ll0w3En").

Lastly, keep your passwords secure. Remember, passwords are the keys to the IT castle, and it doesn’t matter how secure your walls are if the lock on the door is easily picked.
  • Do not enable options to save or remember passwords.
  • Never disclose passwords and PINs to co-workers.
  • Change your important passwords at regular intervals, such as every 90 days.