How to Keep Passwords Secure and Protected

Introduction

In This Guide
You'll Learn:
  • How to create a good password
  • Why password re-use can cause problems
  • Safe ways to store and manage passwords
Password Security

1 Best Practices

Always keep the following password management best practices in mind:

  • Longer is better.
    • Programs exist that can guess thousands of passwords a second, the longer your password, the longer it would take to guess. It takes exponentially longer to guess a password for each character.
      Example
      Good: Ceiling2Wall3Chair#Floor7
      Bad: Office1
       
  • More complex is better.
    • Using a more complicated password makes it harder to guess, as well as creating a much larger 'search space' for password cracking programs.
      Example
      Good: OfF1c3xq%tp
      Bad: Office1
       
  • Do not only use readily available or easily guessable information.
    • Information such as your phone number, address, office number, building name, or the like are easy to look up, and therefore easy to guess. Use information that does not relate directly to you.
      Example
      Good: Wiskey]Tango3foxTrot7
      Bad: JoeAverage123FakeStreet
       
  • Include numbers, uppercase letters and special characters.
    • Increasing the type of characters used in your password is always beneficial, as, again, it would take a lot longer to guess, either by a person or with software.
      Example
      Good: i#c=TgsDE36w}q
      Bad: unxuetuykhmczk
       
  • Change your passwords frequently. This is why most companies and some services will prompt you to change your password after a certain amount of time.
    • Even if someone gets your password, if you've changed it recently, the information they have would end up being useless.
  • Never enter your password when someone is within a viewing distance and angle of your screen. This is especially important to keep in mind when on planes, trains, buses or anything else with rows of seats.
    • No matter how complicated or secure your password is, if someone can simply watch you type it in, it's just as good as giving it to them.
  • Never check the box to show the password when logging into a site or service. You are better off missing a potential typo than exposing your password.
    • Once again, if someone sees your password, it is the same as giving it to them.
  • Never give anyone else your password.
    • A shared password means someone else can 'be' you to the online service or system. They can then do anything, and everything you can do, but you would be accountable for it.
  • Do not reuse your passwords with multiple services.
    • If one service you use is compromised and ends up giving your password to an attacker, that attacker could end up with the single password you're using across all your other services, thus compromising all of your accounts. It's best to have separate passwords for every service you use.

2 Additional Security

In addition to strong passwords, it's often a good idea to implement additional tools to help.

Password Managers

These are tools that create strong, complicated, nearly impossible to guess passwords for you, then fill the information into your online services automatically, or allow you to fill them in using simple commands on your computer. The password database these programs create is itself encrypted, and protected with a "master password" that you choose.

This helps eliminate any reusing of passwords, as well as automatically creates strong passwords that are difficult to guess.

Multi-Factor Authentication

Rather than relying just on your password alone, using another form of authentication, such as your smartphone, in addition to your password is a great way to increase the security of your online accounts.

We have guides that can give you some information about Multi-Factor Authentication as well as password managers available.

? Would you like more information on these topics?

  1. Yes, I would like to learn more about Password Managers
  2. Yes, I would like to learn more about Multi-Factor Authentication
  3. No, not at this time

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In This Guide
You'll Learn:
  • How to create a good password
  • Why password re-use can cause problems
  • Safe ways to store and manage passwords
Password Security

Always keep the following password management best practices in mind:

  • Longer is better.
    • Programs exist that can guess thousands of passwords a second, the longer your password, the longer it would take to guess. It takes exponentially longer to guess a password for each character.
      Example
      Good: Ceiling2Wall3Chair#Floor7
      Bad: Office1
       
  • More complex is better.
    • Using a more complicated password makes it harder to guess, as well as creating a much larger 'search space' for password cracking programs.
      Example
      Good: OfF1c3xq%tp
      Bad: Office1
       
  • Do not only use readily available or easily guessable information.
    • Information such as your phone number, address, office number, building name, or the like are easy to look up, and therefore easy to guess. Use information that does not relate directly to you.
      Example
      Good: Wiskey]Tango3foxTrot7
      Bad: JoeAverage123FakeStreet
       
  • Include numbers, uppercase letters and special characters.
    • Increasing the type of characters used in your password is always beneficial, as, again, it would take a lot longer to guess, either by a person or with software.
      Example
      Good: i#c=TgsDE36w}q
      Bad: unxuetuykhmczk
       
  • Change your passwords frequently. This is why most companies and some services will prompt you to change your password after a certain amount of time.
    • Even if someone gets your password, if you've changed it recently, the information they have would end up being useless.
  • Never enter your password when someone is within a viewing distance and angle of your screen. This is especially important to keep in mind when on planes, trains, buses or anything else with rows of seats.
    • No matter how complicated or secure your password is, if someone can simply watch you type it in, it's just as good as giving it to them.
  • Never check the box to show the password when logging into a site or service. You are better off missing a potential typo than exposing your password.
    • Once again, if someone sees your password, it is the same as giving it to them.
  • Never give anyone else your password.
    • A shared password means someone else can 'be' you to the online service or system. They can then do anything, and everything you can do, but you would be accountable for it.
  • Do not reuse your passwords with multiple services.
    • If one service you use is compromised and ends up giving your password to an attacker, that attacker could end up with the single password you're using across all your other services, thus compromising all of your accounts. It's best to have separate passwords for every service you use.

In addition to strong passwords, it's often a good idea to implement additional tools to help.

Password Managers

These are tools that create strong, complicated, nearly impossible to guess passwords for you, then fill the information into your online services automatically, or allow you to fill them in using simple commands on your computer. The password database these programs create is itself encrypted, and protected with a "master password" that you choose.

This helps eliminate any reusing of passwords, as well as automatically creates strong passwords that are difficult to guess.

Multi-Factor Authentication

Rather than relying just on your password alone, using another form of authentication, such as your smartphone, in addition to your password is a great way to increase the security of your online accounts.

We have guides that can give you some information about Multi-Factor Authentication as well as password managers available.

The following guide will give you some basic information about Password Management programs, and how they work.

Show Me How

Clicking this button will open a new guide that will provide you with steps to resolve your issue.

The following guide will give you information about Multi-Factor Authentication, as well as how to set it up for a few major services.

Show Me How

Clicking this button will open a new guide that will provide you with steps to resolve your issue.

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