You are probably wondering why I am saying “Change Your Password!” instead of, “You want me to change my passwords? Really?”
The reason for this month’s column is to encourage you to get into the habit of changing your passwords on all your accounts. Why? There are a multitude of reasons which run the gamut of malware, ransomware, spam, hackers, and the list goes on and on.
But you say to me, “I don’t know how to do this.” It’s simple. Click on forgot password and follow whatever prompt happens after that. Create one password pattern which has symbols, letters with upper case and lower case in them, and numbers as part of it. Keep the password pattern in a safe place. So, what do I mean by create a password pattern. Maybe I should say it differently by saying, what shouldn’t you do.
First, don’t use common words like your name, your pet’s name, and even your friend’s name. Stay away from using personal information about yourself, acronyms, and, for goodness sake, don’t use the word “admin.”
Another rule of thumb is that a password should be at least 12 characters in length. Longer is better. So how do you create a password like that which you can remember? One suggestion I recently heard was to take a sentence you would remember which includes numbers. Such as, when I was a child, I lived at 143 Jalappa Road. That’s actually true. I would then take the sentence and do the following WIwacIL@143JR. I’d remember that. Is there a sentence you could remember?
In writing this article I discovered a website which will tell you if your password is secure or not. Check out http://password-checker.online-domain-tools.com/. I had some fun using the tool to check a few of my own passwords to see how they rated. They are coming up ok, but it seems I may want to work on making them stronger. Check your passwords and change them often.
So, folks, it’s ok to forget your password and reset it. In fact, mark your calendar at least every six months and make a habit of changing your passwords.
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