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Guidelines For Choosing A Password

Monday, August 15, 2011
Published in Websites

Choosing the right password is something that many people find difficult, there are so many things that require passwords these days that remembering them all can be a real problem.

Perhaps because of this a lot of people choose their passwords very badly. The simple tips below are intended to assist you in choosing a good password.

Basics

  • Use at least eight characters, the more characters the better really, but most people will find anything more than about 15 characters difficult to remember.
  • Use a random mixture of characters, upper and lower case, numbers, punctuation, spaces and symbols.
  • Don't use a word found in a dictionary, English or foreign.
  • Never use the same password twice.

Things to Avoid

  • Don't just add a single digit or symbol before or after a word. e.g. "apple1"
  • Don't double up a single word. e.g. "appleapple"
  • Don't simply reverse a word. e.g. "elppa"
  • Don't just remove the vowels. e.g. "ppl"
  • Key sequences that can easily be repeated. e.g. "qwerty","asdf" etc.
  • Don't just garble letters, e.g. converting e to 3, L or i to 1, o to 0. as in "z3r0-10v3"

    Tips

    • Choose a password that you can remember so that you don't need to keep looking it up, this reduces the chance of somebody discovering where you have written it down.
    • Choose a password that you can type quickly, this reduces the chance of somebody discovering your password by looking over your shoulder.

    Bad Passwords

    • Don't use passwords based on personal information such as: name, nickname, birthdate, wife's name, pet's name, friends name, home town, phone number, social security number, car registration number, address etc. This includes using just part of your name, or part of your birthdate.
    • Don't use passwords based on things located near you. Passwords such as "computer", "monitor", "keyboard", "telephone", "printer", etc. are useless.
    • Don't ever be tempted to use one of those oh so common passwords that are easy to remember but offer no security at all. e.g. "password", "123456".
    • Never use a password based on your username, account name, computer name or email address.

    Changing Your Password

    • You should change your password regularly, once every 3 months is reasonable for most purposes.
    • You should also change your password whenever you suspect that somebody knows it, or even that they may guess it, perhaps they stood behind you while you typed it in.
    • Remember, don't re-use a password.
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