Secure Password Selection
The importance of picking a good, secure password can't be emphasized enough. Your password is the way the computer verifies that someone logging in is really you, so pick something that cannot be guessed by others. The top reasons people gain unauthorized acesses to a password protected system is: They guessed someone's password.
The following guidelines will guard against someone finding out your password and using your account illegally:
- Make your password as long as possible. The longer it is, the more difficult it will be to attack the password with a brute-force search. Always use at least 6 characters in your password, at least two of which are numeric.
- Use as many different characters as possible when forming your password. Use numbers, punctuation characters and, when possible, mixed upper and lower-case letters. Choosing characters from the largest possible alphabet will make your password more secure.
- Do not use personal information in your password that someone else is likely to be able to figure out. Obviously, things like your name, phone number, and address are to be avoided. Even names of acquaintances and the like should not be used.
- Do not use words, geographical names, or biographical names that are listed in standard dictionaries.
- Never use a password that is the same as your account number.
- Do not use passwords that are easy to spot while you're typing them in. Passwords like 12345, qwerty (i.e., all keys right next to each other) should be avoided.
If you are having difficulty picking a good password, one good method is to use the first letter of each word in a phrase you can easily remember. For example, "Alta is my kind of place" would be Aimkop. Another method is to intentionally use misspelled words, or words with a number or punctuation mark suffixed. Examples include: braekfast, kite276, and waether. Also, many hackers use numbers or punctuation instead of letters to do a basic encrypt of text, as in: h3llo is hello or he!!o is also hello. Don't copy any of these examples, but y0u g3t the d4ift! The more creative you are the better.
- Have both upper and lower case letters
- Have digits and/or punctuation characters as well as letters
- Are easy to remember, so they do not have to be written down
- Are seven or eight characters long
- Can be typed quickly, so someone else cannot look over your shoulder