Choosing a Secure Password

Choosing a secure password is one of the most important elements involved with keeping your computer and personal infomation secure.

Here are some general suggestions for choosing a password:

1. Make your password long.

We recommend coming up with a user account password that is at least 8 characters long.

2. Use a mixture of letters and numbers as well as upper and lower case.

Use various letter and numbers. Also try to mix upper case and lower case letters. This multiplies the number of different possible combinations.

3. Avoid standard dictionary words.

A common way that computer "villains" crack passwords is to use a program that runs a "dictionary attack". If your password is a word in the dictionary, you are vulnerable.

4. Change your password regularly.

We recommend updating your password at least once every six months.

5. Do not store your password in an insecure location.

If you need to store your password somewhere else other than in your head, make sure it is not in a public location or on a computer that is available to others.

Here are some specfic examples of passwords:

1. Use unusual words and phrases that are nonsensical, but will be easy for you to remember.

Example: d8ck4Lif3 (notice this phrase is similar to the phrase "Duck for life" with some numbers mixed in)

2. Put words inside of words.

Example: NUcomput3rT (resembles Computer Nut)

3. Misspell words on purpose.

Example: TOeTALLY

4. Use the first letters of some meaningful words with some numbers thrown in.

Example: IL54cws (I Love 54 cool web sites)

The common thread of all these passwords is that they would be easier for you to remember than some random collection of letters and numbers, but they would be relatively difficult for a typical password cracking program to crack.