Secure IT: Creating Strong, Secure Passphrases

As we move into the second phase of October's Cybersecurity Awareness Month, "Secure IT," we will focus on the need to keep digital information and data secure. Securing data, which follows owning one's online presence, is the second step in being "cyber-smart." One of the most effective ways to protect your information is by using strong, secure passwords. The following tips will help you establish strong passwords to protect your personal information.

Use Complex (but Easy to Remember) Words and Phrases

The most secure passwords are those which incorporate a combination of at least 10 upper and lowercase letters, numbers, characters and symbols. Select a password or passphrase that is complex enough to include the necessary components, but easy enough for you to remember. Easily identified items, such as birthdates and names of children or pets, should be avoided.

Employ a Variety of Passwords

Most users have several online accounts which are accessed regularly. Ideally, each of your accounts should have its own unique password. Using the same password across all accounts increases the likelihood that a hacker will guess it and attain access to your sensitive information on more than one site.

Keep Your Passwords Out of Sight

It is a best practice to keep your passwords to yourself and not out in the open where anyone can see them. If you must write them down, ensure they are stored in a locked space, rather than displayed on a sticky note on your computer screen or desk. Passwords should not be shared with anyone.

Don't Change Your Password Too Often

Many companies have implemented policies that employees must change their passwords periodically. However, a mandatory policy requiring password changes may not be the most effective way to safeguard information. If prompted to change a password, users might simply alter old ones or repeat prior passwords. Additionally, users may have a hard time remembering their password if it is changed too often. As a result, there is a greater likelihood that users will write down passwords to keep track, increasing the chance of a data breach.

Taking the step to implement strong passwords is an effective way to protect your data. The technology experts at AJTC can help you keep your data safe.  Contact AJTC today to learn more about IT security and other services. You may also visit AJTC here or call 708.942.8200.  

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