A Golden Rule is advice that has been tested and found to be applicable in many different situations. You don’t have to find stuff out for yourself, just follow the Golden Rule. Why take time to find something out for yourself – the hard way – when you can learn from others?
So here are five proven Golden Rules for choosing a strong password.
Golden Rule # 1:
Your password should be at least 6-8 characters long, and should be free of consecutive identical characters. Actually, that’s two rules, but they are both to do with the length and content of your password. It sounds so obvious, doesn’t it, to implement this simple advice, and yet so many people just set a password such as “AAAABBBB” and hope for the best. And remember, don’t use all numbers or all letters: steer clear of “12345678” or “ABCDEFG” (and believe me, I have come across both examples!.
Golden Rule # 2:
is to avoid recycling old passwords. This can affect you in the future because word gets around. For example, for a year or two I used the number and street of my apartment as a password. It was easily memorable for me. But, of course, it was easily discoverable as well, as I found to my cost when I suffered an identity theft on my auction site account. Make certain and don’t forget that not changing your passwords regularly will be something you could regret.
Golden Rule # 3:
Change all vendor default passwords. This is essential because mobile phones, for example, are easily stolen. If you didn’t change the default password on your cell phone (often ‘0000’) you will end up with a hefty charge when your next bill arrives.
Golden Rule # 4:
Use a password generator. There are several ways of doing this, including buying software that will generate random numbers and characters that go beyond a series that you might choose yourself. Many accounts that require passwords will accept passwords that are up to 16 characters long, a harder sequence to break than one of just six or eight.
If you don’t want to buy software, why not check the series of letters and numbers that often accompany a browser address, such as “A3P5ROKL5A1OLE” (I copied that from an online bookseller after I clicked on a book I was interested in. It’s part of a far longer sequence and I just copied a section at random.
Golden Rule # 5:
is to change your passwords at regular intervals. You could accomplish this by setting a forward alarm in your phone or PC diary. It can be very important since third party attacks on computers is increasing exponentially and regular password changes ensure that you raise the bar to phishing and identity theft. This will almost certainly entail investing in anti-virus software, and keeping it up to date.This could be really critical because doing so ensures that your personal information is secure and protected.
Before I finish, please don’t use any of the passwords above!
So follow these golden rules to choose a strong password and you will feel more secure, safe in the knowledge that you have acted responsibly in protecting your most valuable asset: yourself.