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Why do my passwords have to be so long?  Why do I have to use a combination of upper case, lower case, numbers and special characters?  Answer: this makes your password exponentially harder to guess; 722 trillion times harder to guess.

So how do you develop a secure password anyway?  There are a few tools out there that you can use to generate a secure password without putting much effort into it.  Try Secure Password Generator from Symantec.  It’s a free online tool to help you generate random passwords.  http://www.pctools.com/guides/password/

Another method for developing secure passwords is to think of a phrase or a quote.  For example, I like using presidential quotes, “Now is the time for all good men to come to the aid of their country,” JFK.  It doesn’t take too much imagination to see how we can come up with this password, “Nt4AgM2c2AtC”.  Ta-dah!  Password created.  Now we have a complex 12 character password.

Rules for passwords:

  • ALWAYS change the default password, especially for your bank accounts, routers, etc.
  • NEVER give your password to anybody you don’t know, especially when you don’t see them in person.
  • NEVER use your same password for multiple accounts.

Consider the implications of someone guessing your password.  They have complete access to everything that you have the rights to.  Have you ever been impersonated?

How are you supposed to remember all this stuff?  There are various tools available that essentially password protect your password file.  Some of them will even remember the passwords for you and autofill things like online banking.  My personal favorite is the one that’s included in the the Kaspersky Pure, which offers anti-virus, anti-malware, etc, along with the password management tool.  I pay for the three user version which is about $130 for 3 years.

Here’s an article form PCMag.com that covers other password managers.  http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2817,2407168,00.asp

Keep personal and professional contact lists separate.  What would happen if somebody hacks (if someone figures out your password) into your Hotmail account and sends an email to your boss that says, “To whom it may concern, It is with regret that I am forced to submit my resignation…”?

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