IT Security Tip #4: Use strong passwords!
Thanks to powerful brute-force-attack software readily available online, hackers can try tens of millions of possible password combinations per second. For example, hacking software can guess a five-character password under 20 minutes. If you only use lowercase letters, it’s 12 seconds!
You know you need to have a better password than password or letmein if you have any hope of keeping hackers out of your PC; but what does a strong password mean? A good password should be at least eight characters long (or longer!) and have a combination of uppercase and lowercase letters, numbers and symbols that are hard to guess. Don’t use dictionary words with proper capitalization because they’re easy to guess (like Password123#). Even though it meets the requirements we just discussed, it’s easily hacked; remember, hackers have sophisticated password-hacking software that will run 24/7/365. If you want a quick tip for remembering your password, use a phrase and insert letters and numbers intoit, like $h@KeNb8ke. (“shake and bake”…get it!?)
The BEST thing you can do is get a password manager like LastPass or RoboForm to help you create super strong passwords (stuff you literally CAN’T remember) and organize them and make it easy to pull your crazy password as needed without typing it. We use LastPass Enterprise edition here at Cole Informatics (which cost about $24/year per employee), but they have a fully functional free version for individuals.
Lastly, if you want help with complex, but pronounceable passwords, check out our free Password Maker. (/) .