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.
- 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"
- 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.
- 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.