Pin Me

The Cornerstone of Internet Security: Strategies to Construct a Proper Password

written by: richmonjames•edited by: Brian Nelson•updated: 2/10/2010

As the use of online services increase, more and more passwords are necessary, especially for heavy internet users. Therefore, it has become necessary to understand methods of proper construction, as a way to prevent identity theft.

  • slide 1 of 4

    Why a Good, Strong Password is Best

    With the increasing amount of secured web services which are being introduced onto the internet, it is only natural that network users find difficulty in selecting defensive passwords. According to research studies, a complex internet user will access at least two password-protected services on the typical day. This statistic does not include the amount of services which subscribers access on an irregular basis, as many frequent users will enlist in a surplus of over 20 online accounts. According to a 2002 poll from NTA Monitor, the average IT consumer can have up to 21 passwords, used to access emails, bank accounts, and various other network-based services. In the market which was tested, some consumers were forced to manage up to 70 passwords.

    With such an immense amount of secured services, it is often difficult to construct an efficient password, especially if you plan not to utilize the same validation for securing each account. On many occasions, users will simply choose a password for ease of remembrance, but a password’s complexity is actually more crucial to your online security.

    As internet usage grows, it is imperative that each of us pays more attention to online security. As identity theft becomes more prominent, users must take heed of even the smallest threats to personal security. Whether on a personal service (like email) or merely accessing online entertainment, choosing a properly constructed password is a necessary security measure. As the result of a weak password, a criminal can easily gain control of your accounts, leading to a plethora of further difficulties. After gaining access to more delicate online systems, an advanced hacker can gradually attain access to your computer, given the capacity to obtain rather intricate information.

  • slide 2 of 4

    Secure Password Selection: The Do's

    The following is a list of items to utlilize when constructing a difficult password to keep yourself protected.

    • Make your password as long as possible. A lengthy password will be difficult to crack, even if brute-force procedures are implemented. Most webpages enforce a minimum password length of six characters, though such a password is still relatively vulnerable. The general consensus, as supported by Microsoft.com, is for passwords to be longer than eight characters.
    • Create a complex arrangement using different characters. Especially with systems that employ case-sensitive structures, users should make certain that they include a variety of characters – uppercase, lowercase, symbols, and numbers. The characters should be assorted in the most difficult arrangement, making the string impossible to deduce.
    • Use random characters and numbers rather than employing common terms. Using prosaic terms will make cracking easy for hackers, resulting in an undemanding effort to decipher passwords. NTA Monitor’s survey showed a consistent ignorance among consumers in regards to this significant issue. According to polls, 84% of consumers consider memorability as a foundation for password construction. Additionally, over 81% act on this belief, attempting to make passwords common whenever possible.
  • slide 3 of 4

    The Dont's

    When constructing an online password, there are certain practices which will make you quite susceptible to identity theft. Users should follow these guidelines, steering clear of common mistakes which will make your password easier to attain.

    • Do not use personal details which can be easily deduced, especially if it is publicly available information. Thieves can easily locate this information, and will often commit this when unraveling passwords.
    • Do not use your user ID or website name as your password. Many presume that no one would guess such a simple password, but thieves commonly choose obvious terms as primary hacking options.
    • Do not employ simple passwords which are easy to spot by hackers. Strings such as QWERTY, PASSWORD, 123456, and ****** should be religiously avoided. For your information, the most common passwords are qwerty, password, abc125, letmein, and 123456; as shown in research conducted by specialists from Yahoo! Tech.
  • slide 4 of 4

    Additional Guidelines for Maintaining Password Security

    Keep the following in mind to help you protect your passwords.

    • Never release your password to anyone, including close friends and family. While it seems unlikely, many cases have arisen as a result of publicizing account information. According to users contracted by Accenture, personal irresponsibility is a large cause of identity theft.
    • Change your passwords every 30 days. This task can be conveniently executed at the end of the month. At most, users should modify their passwords at 90-day intervals.
    • In an effort to prevent identity theft, it is recommended that all online consumers create secure passwords for each service they utilize. Passwords, when created carefully, can be a strong first line of defense for preserving your safety, and this process should not be taken lightly.