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6 Factors to Consider When Choosing Secure Passwords

Published September 15, 2021

6 Factors to Consider When Choosing Secure Passwords

With most of us juggling 70-80 passwords, it’s not surprising that we often fall back on old favorites. However, the fact is that if you want to keep your company’s information safe online, old standbys aren’t going to cut it.

Choosing secure passwords is probably even more important than securing your house. Here are our 6 steps to getting it right.

1. Forget Words and Names

The dictionary is the starting point for any hacker. Using words, even foreign words, is not a good strategy in choosing secure passwords. 

Don’t play the letter substitution game, swapping out letters and numbers with special characters. If it’s a word or name, it’s still way too easy for hackers.

2. The Longer the Better

Most passwords ask for a minimum of 7 or 8 characters. When choosing secure passwords, this is not enough. A minimum of 15 characters will help you form secure passwords.

Although these are harder to remember, there are workarounds that can help them stick in your mind. Over time with repetition, you’ll find them easier to remember. Remember, also to use different passwords for different accounts. If one is breached, you don’t have to reset all your passwords.

3. Avoid Easy-to-Guess Information

Names of favorite places, birthdays, anniversaries, and your kid’s names are all popular password fodder. The problem is the information is easy to find out and easy for hackers to crack.

Even when choosing secure passwords based on passphrases, make sure they’re not too common. Lyrics of popular songs, for example, are easy for hackers to guess.

4. Use a Combination of Letters, Numbers, and Special Characters

This has been standard advice for many years but is still valid. It’s much harder to crack seemingly random combinations of letters, numbers, and special characters. 

There’s more involved than just swapping out a few obvious characters in everyday words, though. Passphrases are the key to choosing secure passwords—and the more obscure, the better.

5. Use Memory Techniques

There are certain phrases that are full of meaning to you, but totally obscure to others. Ideas for passwords include a line from a movie (not a famous quote), a phrase from an obscure song, or a random line of poetry.

Applying the techniques above, using numbers and special characters, could make it very hard to crack. 

6. Strong Passwords Mean Fewer Changes 

The question of when to change passwords has been hotly debated. In the past, every three months was recommended. But the fact is we all hate changing passwords.

The more frequently we’re asked to do it, the more likely we are to take shortcuts. Shortcuts lead to weakened security.

It makes more sense for you to educate your staff on choosing strong passwords in the first instance. Our tech support at Kennett Square would be happy to provide ideas for creating strong passwords. Then, unless there’s a security breach, there will be no need to change them every few months.

The Key to Choosing Secure Passwords Every Time

To keep your company’s IT systems secure, it’s vital to educate your team. A system is only as strong as its weakest link. Train your team in choosing secure passwords and it will go a long way towards maintaining a secure system.

At Pegasus Technologies, our IT specialists are ready and waiting to help your team keep your company safe online.

Contact us today to learn more about our managed IT solutions and how they could benefit your business.

Pegasus Technologies is the IT Team for organizations that don’t need a full-time IT department. Our technology experts build you a technology plan to keep your business running at its best. We have offices in Kennett Square, PA, Media, PA, and Wayne, PA to provide better computer support and IT services to you.

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Nathanael Walker
nwalker@pegtec.com

Nate is a Technical Account Manager at Pegasus Technologies. Nate started his career in Information Technology as a help desk intern and has grown into his role at Pegasus managing clients as their IT manager.