Tips for Creating Better Passwords
With hacking becoming more and more common in today’s technological world, it is important that you have a way to protect yourself. There were over 6 million passwords stolen from different sites just last week, so what can you do to protect yourself? Well, according to Holland Public Safety’s computer forensic officer Detective Jim Ludema, it all starts with having a strong password. Therefore, he has released a few tips for anyone who uses passwords for any type of confidential information. These ideas and tips include ways to build not just one, but several strong passwords to help keep your business your business.
1. Rather than using one password for everything, it’s more secure to use several different passwords.“The hackers attacked LinkedIn’s site. LinkedIn encrypts passwords, but they announced that their encryption wasn’t very good,” says Ludema, “but if the users have strong passwords, it makes it harder for the hacker to decode the encryption.” He added lastly that using one password for many accounts is risky and could allow someone to access all of your information with only one hacking.
2. The longer the password, the more difficult it is for hackers to decrypt. Also, try to make it complicated and not something that is easy to guess by anyone who may know you. “Use upper and lower case letters, numbers and special characters, like exclamation points,” he said. “That’s more difficult to decode.”
3. Do not leave your passwords laying around for others to see, and especially don’t leave them near your computer. Many of Ludema’s investigations into computer hacking start with relationships gone bad. “We see someone who may have known the person (and) guessed the password or known it before,” he said. When the relationship goes sour, Ludema said, former partners sometimes post harassing or threatening messages on each other’s social media pages. Hence: If the relationship ends, change passwords along with the backup email address used for people who forget passwords. Ludema said that email address often is the first change a hacker makes to a compromised account.
4. Get complicated. Using a loved one’s name or birthday is too easy to guess or hack. Instead, “your password could be a full sentence with upper and lower case letters and numbers,” Ludema said. Instead of SafepasswordforBob, consider SafePAssWord4Bob. It might look weird, but you’re more likely to remember it. Another option: Create a sentence, but only use the first letter of each word and add a number or symbol, for example: “I’ve had safe passwords since 1996” would become “IHSps1996.” Create your own pattern of making up passwords, he said. You’ll remember several codes while making it more difficult for others to guess. Some people use words but encode them by looking at the keyboard and choosing the letter next to, above or below it. (Happy, for example, could become yq006.)
5. If you do suspect hacking: Change your password first, then contact the social media site, bank or other online account manager. “If money is taken from a bank account, contact the police,” Ludema said. “We’ll do an investigation.”