Do's and Don'ts of Passwords

Passwords have one purpose - to protect personal or otherwise sensitive data against the prying eyes of cyber criminals. As such, they need to be hard to guess or crack. Passwords like '12345', 'abcde', 'welcome' or your favourite colour are subsequently of very little use - one might compare them to fire guards constructed of ice cream or chocolate.

Effective protection is only offered by passwords that are:

Long - minimum 12 characters
Complicated - including lower and upper case letters, special characters and numbers
Changed frequently - prolonged use of the same password gives hackers a chance to crack them eventually

Remembering long, complicated passwords is made easier by creating sentences. You could, for instance, use 0 (zero)nY*£$#!ydGimN1Ate (Oh no, you swine, you don't get into my number one account that easily). Naturally, each account should have its own password - otherwise all of your accounts will be open to access once a single password has been cracked.

Verifying the strength of your password via sites such as 'How Secure Is My Password' http://howsecureismypassword.net/, for instance, will provide piece of mind that a password will indeed be strong enough to give hackers a seriously hard time.

Two-step verification (as offered by Google, for example) involving monthly text messages containing a code to be entered before entering your password will further enhance your security measures.

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