With more of our financial, medical and personal information available online at the click of a button it is more important than ever that we take another look at the passwords and PINs that we are using to keep it all private. Ensuring that you have a strong password is one of the simplest ways to help protect your online data.
When selecting your new password there are a number of common pitfalls to avoid:
- Avoid words from the dictionary or proper nouns (in any language – most commonly available password cracking utilities now use multiple dictionaries when performing password attacks).
- Don’t use personal information – while using your dog’s name as a password may be easy to remember it’s also easy for someone to obtain or guess.
- Avoid words spelled backwards, common misspellings or abbreviations.
- Avoid repetitive characters or common sequences such as abcdefg or qwerty.
The good news however is that creating a strong password isn’t as difficult as it sounds and there are plenty of techniques available to help you create one that you will remember. Microsoft provides advice on creating a strong password and also provides an online password checker that can evaluate your new (or existing) password to help you determine its strength. ( Try Microsoft’s password complexity checker here!)
Microsoft recommends the following process for creating your strong password:
|1. Start with a sentence or two (about 10 words)||I like staying in Queensland because it is sunny.|
|2. Turn your sentences into a row of letters||ilsiqbiis|
|3. Add complexity||IlsiQbiIs|
|4. Add length with numbers||IlsiQ23bi7Is|
|5. Add length with punctuation||? IlsiQ23bi7Is|
|6. Add length with symbols||? IlsiQ23bi7Is”|
While the password (? IlsiQ23bi7Is”) might be difficult to remember on its own, using the technique to recreate the password is simple, quick and effective; and produces a password that is long, complex and unpredictable in nature.
While using a strong password won’t guarantee that your data will remain safe and should be combined with other online security measures to reduce your risk it is a solid foundation for security your online data. Try using the tool above to check the strength of your password and if you would like more information on how to keep your online information secure speak with one of our consultants on 1300 882 297.