Using strong computer passwords

How many of you have a computer password of “password”? Or maybe your dog’s name? Date of birth? Fess up. Many people are guilty of using weak passwords. Or perhaps you have the same password for your email newsletters as you do for your bank account. Bad idea. It is extremely important to 1) use secure passwords, 2) change them frequently, and 3) don’t use the same password for secure (bank) and “informal” accounts (newsletters).

To make sure your password is secure, use letters, numbers, and symbols. For example, you may replace the letter “I” with an “!”, or “a” for “@”. Don’t use words that include personal information, such as birthdays or names.

How often you should change your passwords is up for debate. You’ll hear quite a range and I would recommend at least every 90 days. I know it can be a pain, but better safe than sorry.

And finally, how often can you use the same password? One suggestion is to think in terms of different “levels” of security, with newsletter subscriptions considered “low level” and banking information “high level”. I think it is okay to use the same password for your newsletter subscriptions or other accounts that don’t have personal information. But never, ever, use the same password for your newsletters as you do for your banking information.

And my last point…. Please, please, please don’t post the administrator password in the server room. Yes, it’s been done.

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