Password Security

Your passwords access personal information that you have stored on your computer and in your online accounts. If someone steals this information, they can pose as you in online transactions. In many cases you may not know about these attacks until it is too late. Create strong passwords and keep them secure.

How can I make my password more secure?

  • Don't use passwords that are based on personal information that can be easily accessed or guessed.
  • Don't use words that can be found in any dictionary of any language.
  • Develop a technique for remembering complex passwords.*
  • Use both lowercase and capital letters.
  • Use a combination of letters, numbers, and special characters.
  • Use different passwords on different systems.
  • Don't share passwords with others.
  • Change passwords regularly.
  • Store passwords in a safe place.
  • Don't leave passwords where others can find them.

What if someone requests my password via email? Any e-mail that requests your password or requests that you to go to a website to verify your password is almost certainly a fraud. This includes requests from a trusted company or individual. E-mail can be intercepted in transit, and e-mail that requests information might not be from the sender it claims. Internet "phishing" scams use fraudulent e-mail messages to entice you into revealing your user names and passwords, steal your identity, and more.

What if I'm using a public computer? Computers such as those in Internet cafés, computer labs, and airports should be considered unsafe for any personal use other than anonymous Internet browsing. Do not check online e-mail, chat rooms, bank balances, or any other account that requires a user name and password. Hackers can purchase inexpensive keystroke logging devices which take only a few moments to install. With these devices hackers can harvest all the information typed on a computer from across the Internet.

What if my password is stolen?  Be sure to monitor all the information you protect with your passwords, such as your bank account statements, credit reports, credit card accounts, etc. Strong passwords can help protect you against fraud and identity theft, but there are no 100% guarantees. No matter how strong your password is, if someone breaks into the system that stores it, they will have your password. If you notice suspicious activity on your accounts that could indicate that someone has accessed your information. Notify authorities immediately.

Presenting SplashData’s "Worst Passwords of 2013".  Did your password make the list?

  1. 123456
  2. password
  3. 12345678
  4. qwerty
  5. abc123
  6. 123456789
  7. 111111
  8. 1234567
  9. iloveyou
  10. adobe123
  11. 123123
  12. admin
  13. 1234567890
  14. letmein
  15. photoshop
  16. 1234
  17. monkey
  18. shadow
  19. sunshine
  20. 12345
  21. password1
  22. princess
  23. azerty
  24. trustno1
  25. 000000