Password Security

Do you use different passwords?

Most of us have one, maybe two passwords, that we use for everything.  [Tema’s update: It is now getting harder to have only one or two because every site seems to have different rules.] Experts recommend that we use multiple passwords- especially where financial transactions and sensitive information are concerned.  Using an alphanumeric (a mix of numbers and words or letters) password is also a good idea, and now often required

How did you choose your password?

Although easy to remember, birth dates or names of children are not good choices for passwords.

One easy way to create a memorable password is to take the first letter of each word in an expression or song lyric that you know well. For example, “tmo2tbg” is derived in from “Take Me Out To the Ball Game” and integrates the numeric requirement for increased safety.

How should you record your password?

Never keep passwords in or near your computer. As convenient as it is to have your system remember passwords, it’ll be even more convenient to the person who breaks in to your system to access your private information – even your banking information.

Worksite computers can be extremely dangerous – especially if networked.

If you do record your passwords, keep them somewhere away from your system and try writing them down in reverse order- only you will know what it means.

[Tema’s update: There are now some software programs that securely store your passwords, such as LastPass. You only need to remember one main password, and it stores all your others in a vault that you can only open with that one password.]

Who wants to know your password or other identifying information?

Except for your password, credit card number, and address linked to that credit card, you should never have to give any other information to place an order online.

Only give credit card numbers and passwords in a secure area of a web site – look for the security symbol on your task bar or the https (note the ‘s’) in the page address.

If you are still uneasy about purchasing online, look for a telephone number that will let you order over the telephone, and check the company’s Better Business Bureau (BBB) listing.

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