Password Security Checklist

See How Yours Stack Up

 A good password is the basic building block of information security.  You can do your part to protect your information by observing good password practices – but are you doing so?  Let’s find out!  See how many desirable features you can check off:

1. At least 8 characters long.  The more characters in your password, the more possible combinations exist that someone trying to hack into your account will have to try.  This decreases the odds that they’ll be able to guess. Consider using the first letters in a phrase or quote you will remember.

2. Both upper- and lowercase letters.  This is another step that increases the complexity of passwords and makes them harder to guess.

3. Add numbers as well as letters.  You get the idea – this makes the password even harder to guess.

4. Special characters.  Not all websites accept these, but if they do, adding such characters as # and ! add quite a lot to security.

5. Change passwords regularly. Changing passwords regularly or when you suspect someone may have access to your accounts can protect your personal information

6. Not obvious.  Passwords that are made up of publicly accessible biographical information can be pretty easy to figure out.  Avoid things like family member birthdays, your pets’ names, and your favorite sports team.

7. Not the same everywhere.  It’s tough to remember a long list of passwords, so you probably can’t have a different one for every site.  On the other hand, it is a good idea to have unique, super-strong passwords for online banking sites and other sites with financial information.  These should be different from the password you use for social media sites and email.

8. Not written down.  One of the toughest things to do is balance Tip 5, above, with this requirement. A list of passwords that can be found and exploited puts all your data at risk at once!

Mark Schutt
Network Security
Schutt_mark@svvsd.org
(303) 702-7770

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