Security Tips: Passwords

Why use Passwords? In the world of social media, internet, and ‘user accounts’ on your phones, tablets, surfaces, and laptops, a password is required to ‘protect you and your data’. The fact that people use weak passwords is the reason for a lot of data breaches today. Passwords are strongest when they are exclusive to the specific item you are working with. This means you have a password for PayPal, a different one for Apple Pay, and a different one for LinkedIn, etc. At no time should you use the same password for more than one activity. This includes your home alarm system, Secret Word etc. Passwords, when you have the ability to do so, should have letters, numbers, and special characters. As a rule of thumb passwords should be at least 11 characters long. These 11 characters should be upper and lower case, numbers, and special characters like, but not limited to, $,}, &, +, etc.  When the systems you are using prevent the use of special characters then the format of the characters and length should increase to add for this issue. Generally companies that do not permit the use of special characters are running the applications you are using on a Mainframe computer. Examples of these companies are Marriott and Delta Airlines. Passwords should never be a word or phrase that is associated with you like your date of birth, home address, pets’ names, children’s names, or your initials and the month and date. Passwords should be changed at least every 90 days when permitted and yearly at a minimum. When the device has the ability, the password should be replaced with something unique like a fingerprint which are much safer and do not require changing as each person’s fingerprint is unique.

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