You wouldn’t leave your car door unlocked all night and you certainly wouldn’t leave your front door open all night. So why then do you leave your computer unlocked all the time?
We all keep personal details on our computers, laptops, tablets and phones. If this information got in to the wrong hands, how damaging could it be for you? You can have all the I.T. related security you want, but if you fail to password protect you computers, you are leaving them wide open for abuse.
So, I’ve worried you enough that you want to password protect your computer. Too many people make the mistake of picking easy passwords to guess. Avoid creating passwords that use the following:
- Dictionary words in any language.
- Words spelled backwards, common misspellings, and abbreviations.
- Sequences or repeated characters. Examples: 12345678, 222222, abcdefg, or adjacent letters on your keyboard (qwerty).
- Personal information. Your name, birthday, driver’s license, passport number, or similar information.
While all these may slow down someone trying to get at your files, it will not stop them for long. The key to a good password is to make it difficult to guess.
So what makes for a good password? Well, good passwords should have some of these characteristics:
- Length. Make your passwords long with eight or more characters.
- Complexity. Include letters, punctuation, symbols, and numbers. Use the entire keyboard, not just the letters and characters you use or see most often. The greater the variety of characters in your password, the better. However, password hacking software automatically checks for common letter-to-symbol conversions, such as changing “and” to “&” or “to” to “2.”
- Unguessable. Someone should not be able to guess your password, so don’t use words that would go together like “chocolatemilkshake”. No one in their right mind would ever consider guessing a phrase like “chocolatedieseldisco”!
Once you have created your password, do remember to use it. When walking away from your PC, lock it, it only takes seconds to unlock it when you return. One final word of warning though, it doesn’t matter how strong your password is if you write it on a piece of paper and leave it stuck to your monitor or desk…..