Security in the age of the hacker

Xpancom - Password Security is Simply CriticalThe uniqueness, strength and “encryption factor” of your online passwords are the keys to your privacy, financial security and peace-of-mind in the virtual world. There is no other security measure that even comes close than your use of long, encrypted and non-memorable passwords. If you are still using a word that is in the dictionary for any of your passwords, I urge you stop right here and change them fast. There are hackers that are using what’s called a “dictionary attack” to try every word in the dictionary to break into your sensitive accounts. Why give them a chance?

Here are a few things to always remember when you are creating your passwords:

  1. Always make your passwords long and encrypted.
  2. Your passwords should NOT be memorable.
  3. Use uppercase, lowercase, numbers and weird characters like $%#.
  4. Change your passwords frequently, at least once every three months but once a month is better.
  5. Use a different password for every one of your logins.

If you absolutely have to remember a password, you can use a simple mental template to remember it. For example, Take a word that you will remember, such as your city name, start with a capital letter and then “interlace” numbers through it. So if your city is Albany, you could have a password like A1l2bany or A3l4bany. However, this is NOT recommended! You should always strive to make your passwords ridiculously difficult and encrypted.

Probably the most critical thing to remember is always use different passwords for each of your logins. Once upon a time, I used the same password for some forum logins as I used for my PayPal which resulted in an easy hacking and $1,000 being drained from my account! True story which I learned the hard way.

What’s the best way to store all your passwords? Try using Excel and keep it secure on your local machine. Some people recommend the use of third party programs, such as a password wallet, that enable you to login to multiple sites with a click but I find them largely unnecessary since you can just copy and paste from your spreadsheet. In my experience, a spreadsheet is more than convenient and safe.

For more information-sensitive logins, such as your bank, make your password AND your username as long and encrypted as possible. This cannot be overstated! If your online banking login allows for a 32 character username and a 32 character password, make them 32 characters. There is no reason you should have to remember this info. Simply store it in your Excel spreadsheet or text file and copy and paste it.

For more great Web security, Web design, Web support and Web marketing tips, bookmark Xpancom now! Thank you and safe surfing.

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