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Common-sense Guidelines for a Good Password Hygiene

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Samvel Gevorgyan
CEO, CYBER GATES
I cover cybercrime, privacy and security in digital form.

Passwords are a vital component used to access digital assets, that is why "Password Hygiene" is one of the highest priority requirements in large organizations.

There are some common-sense guidelines that should be followed for a Good Password Hygiene to secure sensative data at work and in your pesonal life.

Choosing a strong password

A strong password is one that is more secure by virtue of being difficult for a machine or a human to guess. Password strength can be achieved by incorporating the following characteristics; the more characteristics you incorporate into your password, the stronger it will be.

Characteristics of strong passwords

  • At least 8 characters (the more characters, the better)
  • A mixture of both uppercase and lowercase letters
  • A mixture of letters and numbers
  • Inclusion of at least one special character
Note: Use a good password generator software to make your life easier.

Examples of weak passwords

  • Any word that can be found in a dictionary, in any language (e.g: love or yerevan)
  • A dictionary word with some letters simply replaced by numbers (e.g: 10v3 or y3r3v@n)
  • A repeated character or a series of characters (e.g: AAAAA or 12345)
  • A keyboard series of characters (e.g: qwerty or poiuy)
  • Personal information (e.g: birthdays, names of pets, phone numbers or favorite color)
  • Anything that’s written down and stored somewhere near your computer

Protecting your password

  • Change it regularly (once every three to six months)
  • Change it if you have the slightest suspicion that the password has become known by a human or a machine (e.g: website or malicious software)
  • Avoid typing it on computers that you do not trust (e.g: computer of your colleague)
  • Never save it for a web form on a computer that you do not control or that is used by more than one person
  • Never store your password on your computer except in an encrypted form
  • Never send your password via email or other unsecured channel
  • Never tell it to anyone, not even your system administrator
  • Be very careful when entering your password with somebody else next to you
  • Never write it down

Remembering your password

A strong password is hard to guess, but it should be easy for you to remember. So what can you do?

  • Use a secure password manager
  • Use a text file encrypted with a strong encryption utility
Note: LastPass is my favorite one as it allows you to use all the necessary features for free.

Summary

It is really important to note that he main target of security is not only creating rules but also following them.

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