Follow these password best practices to keep personal and professional accounts safe and secure.
A password is the key to your accounts—both at home and at work. Choosing the wrong password puts your information at risk.
Why do so many people choose 123456 as their password? Or their dog’s name or their birthday or even simply the word “password”? Because it’s easy to remember! The problem is this makes it easy for others to break into your account and compromise the safety and security of your information. So how can you protect yourself and your account security and still manage to remember all your passwords? By following these password best practices:
Start strong. A strong password is difficult to guess and consists of a combination of characters (including upper and lowercase letters), numbers, and possibly special characters (like the pound sign, and dollar symbol). Using a passphrase, or multiple words strung together to form a sentence, is even better than a single word. Creating unique passwords minimizes the risk that a hacker can guess your password.
Mix it up. No matter how long or complex the password, having one password for all your accounts is like having a single key to your office, house, car, safe, and everything else. If the wrong person gets the key, you could lose everything. Never use the same passwords for multiple accounts. Variety is best.
Keep it to yourself. Never share your password with anyone! Not your coworkers, your manager, or even your IT guy. IT will never ask for your password—if they can’t get into your account without a password then they will reset it and let you change it when they’re done.
Change your password immediately if you suspect it’s been compromised. And never use public computers to access work or bank accounts because they could be infected with malicious code that captures your keystrokes. Only log in on trusted computers or mobile devices you control.
Change it often. Always change your password frequently (every 60-90 days). Changing your password makes it even harder for someone to access your computer using your credentials. And in the event that someone does obtain your password, the password is only good for a limited time.
Commit it to memory. If you write your password down on paper, anyone could see it and compromise your accounts. A password manager can help you keep track of all your passwords if you have trouble