Tech Talk

July 15, 2015

Tech Support words in 3d letters in a red metal toolbox to illustrate an information technology assistance or help role

Tech Talk – Is my password safe and secure?

These are questions that we should all be asking ourselves. How old is my password? When did I change it last? Is it the same in multiple places? How difficult is it to figure out? How many people know my password?

Passwords are the frontline in the defense of our cyber presence. It is important that the passwords we create are strong and different for each of our critical accounts. It is recommended that passwords be changed on a regular and consistent basis.

Building a better password
You can use uppercase and lowercase letters, numbers, and symbols.  A favorite of the security minded is to create a password with something you know and make it cryptic. Here is an example. Sam likes to go fishing with his children Julie and Chris. Obviously that would be a long password all by itself but here is the cryptic version. Sl2gfWj&C. You should avoid using any public information for passwords (birthdays, phone numbers, 12345, password). These are not secure and are usually the first passwords attempted by a hacker.

Multiple Passwords
Varying your passwords by each account is a necessity, the example being would you use the same key to open all the doors you use in a single day? I think not. Using different passwords for each of our accounts reduces the likelihood of a single compromise giving someone access to everything we have.

It’s not always a bad idea to write down your passwords. Let’s face it, we have a lot of passwords to remember. If you are a practitioner of the written and hidden password, be smart about it. Hide them but don’t leave them in plain sight and never tape them to your computer monitor.

Recovery Options
Make sure you know how to recover a lost password. Most online providers give you a way to setup a recovery email or some other way of contacting you if you have lost your password. Keep them up to date.

Lastly, by being safe and smart with your internet transactions and usage you can reduce the possibility of comprise dramatically. Change your password often and make them strong.

VACo Contact: John Kandris

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