How to Keep Your Passwords Secure
June 14, 2011
What makes a good password vs. a bad password? You undoubtedly have several passwords that you use to protect your important business information — so how do you make sure those passwords don’t become easy guesses for would-be hackers or make you a victim of cybercrime?
Here are some tips from security experts.
- Make your password 10 characters in length: Security researchers have found that a password with 10 characters would take a hacker, on average, 19.24 years at a hundred-billion-guesses-a-second rate to try every combination of those 10 characters to guess your password.
- Make sure your passwords are encrypted: If you use a password service to store all of your passwords so you can keep them straight, make sure the company does not store actual passwords but only the encrypted forms of it on the cloud. For example, the password bank LastPass only stores encrypted passwords on the Internet, and the information is only decrypted when you've retrieved it.
- Don’t use common words: Steve Gibson, a security expert and chief executive of the Gibson Research Corporation, suggests avoiding commonly used passwords as well as any words found in the dictionary. Instead, he stresses one of the strongest passwords you can make is a bunch of gibberish characters — again, at least 10 characters long.
Source: “Guard That Password (and Make Sure It’s Encrypted),” The New York Times (June 11, 2011)
Updated: September 23, 2021