One of the questions we ask our customers on a regular basis is "what is your password?" - this is usually to log on to their computer or email, and they often say "oh, it's my usual password..."
The problem with this is that if someone manages to get hold of this password, they can log on to most of the websites or email accounts that you have. We recently had a call from someone telling us that their Facebook, 3 email accounts, and several other sites had been hacked - even worse is that someone sent a spam email to every one of their contacts in their Gmail which appeared to be from them but was advertising an adult site.
We would recommend using unique, secure passwords every time you get asked for a password.
What is a secure password?
Usually, a secure password is:
- At least 8 characters long
- Has a mixture of letters and numbers
- Has a mixture of upper and lower case
- Is not a word you would find in the dictionary
- Is not something someone else could easily know about you (eg your Date of Birth)
You can use a free online secure password generator here: http://www.pctools.com/guides/password/ which will generate secure passwords for you - passwords which meet the critera above.
But how do I remember all of those passwords?
If you are making a unique password for each of the sites that you use, then, if you are anything like me, you will have about 30-40 to remember.
A great idea is to use a software program on your computer to store all of the unique passwords in an encrypted file. Think of it like an electronic safe - you would use one password to "unlock" the safe, and then you can see all the secure information inside.
A great free tool to do this is Password Corral, which can be downloaded free from here:http://www.cygnusproductions.com/downloads/downloads.asp
This is simple to use, and a great way of ensuring that unique passwords are kept safe and secure.