passwords are like underwear

Passwords are part of our culture. They are everywhere from your first logon screen to your Internet service provider. If you have a user name, you have a password.

Many casual users of the Internet (and plenty who should know better) have a tendency to take passwords for granted. To conserve a few brain cells, they may create a simple password that is easy to remember and use it for anything and everything that requires registering and protecting with a password. The key word here is protecting. Weak passwords can be as bad as no passwords at all.

If you are using an online service to access the Internet, one of the first things you did was choose a user id and password. Treat your passwords with respect. Anyone with casual access to your user identification and password information can, in effect, be you, with all the rights and privileges you have on your account. Your account could be used for anything and everything, including unauthorized purchases and other illegal activities. Here are a few tips to protect yourself.

  • Don’t be lazy … Change your password frequently, at least once a month.
  • Use longer passwords … Make your password at least 7 characters long – preferably 10 or more.
  • Mix it up … Have at least one character that is uppercase, lowercase, a number, and a symbol like $, %, or &.
  • Symbols … Have at least one symbol character in the second through sixth positions.
  • Be different … Be entirely different from previous passwords.
  • No names … Make sure your password contains no names or usernames.
  • Uncommon … Do not let your password contain words or names found in a dictionary.

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