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Why are passwords so important? How many passwords should you have? Should you have different passwords for different websites? Different programs??? These are all good question and important to address to keep your accounts secure.
The answer is yes to all these questions. Passwords help secure important information. So you should ask yourself, how important is the information you are trying to protect or could this effect someone else if it’s hacked?
If someone accesses this information, will it compromise others that trust you to share their information with? A good example would be social media. Some people share everything with everyone. Whereas others only share information with those that they trust and know. So, if you have a weak password for one of these social media sites, a hacker could gain access to your account and then access information about friends that they don’t want to share. There are lots of reasons why some people don’t want their personal information available to everyone but I’m not going to get into that right. That’s a topic for another day.
As an IT Professional, we have more passwords than we can ever remember. One of the methods I have found helpful is to keep a master password document with protection using an encrypted password. You can take it a step further. If you’re like me, I also keep that protected document in an encrypted container that I only unlock when I need to access the files in it. This can be done using software that can be downloaded for free or purchased from well-known manufactures. I use TrueCrypt, which is a discontinued source-available freeware utility used for on-the-fly encryption that doesn’t rely on hardware for encryption. If you have Windows 8 pro or higher, you can just enable Windows Bitlocker and that will encrypt your whole hard drive. Now, remember, a password is only as good as its strength. Longer is better, use uppercase, lowercase, numbers and non-alphanumeric characters.
If you are using Microsoft Word 2007 or higher, you can easily protect your document with password encryption by going in and enabling protection. If you have a new version of Microsoft Office like 2013 or 2016, it’s as simple as going to File, Info tab and select Protect Document. If you need help doing this simply do an internet search on “how to protect Microsoft Word document 20xx” (replace the xx with your version you need help with).
I always recommend having different levels of passwords for different websites and programs. I have found that having a general password to use for most websites that I would never care about getting compromised is okay. These are the sites that don’t have any personal information about you or anyone else, with no financial or purchasing options. Just a plain as can be website signup.
Then I have specific passwords that are very secure and only used for that one application or website. This would be my email accounts, social media, banking, etc. These are the sites that I don’t want anyone ever getting access to and want to keep the information confidential. If one site gets hacked, it doesn’t affect the others.
Written by Tim Alexander
Wednesday, August 3, 2016
Written by Tim Alexander
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