Cybersecurity Awareness: Passwords

Cybersecurity Awareness
October 14, 2021

The length and strength of your password can make a huge difference in how long it takes for hackers to crack the code! Cybercriminals can crack weak passwords in seconds and that’s why it is important that each online account (especially the important ones) have slight differences. However, having and remembering different passwords for each online account may seem overwhelming.

Below are recommended guidelines for creating new passwords:

  1. Use strong, unique passwords. Secure passwords are those that are easy to remember, but hard to guess. Never use the same password for multiple online accounts.  If your password is compromised during a breach, hackers can gain access to all of your accounts.
  1. Size does matter. Passwords should be at least eight characters long, using: 
  • UPPERCASE characters (A to Z)
  • Lowercase characters (a to z)
  • Numbers (0 to 9)
  • Symbols (! $ # % @ &*[ < >)
  1. Use this trick to create a strong password:  
  • Step 1 – Think of a phrase or the name of a song i.e. “Can’t you see, oh can’t you see,”
  • Step 2 – Take the first letter of each word Cys,ocys
  • Step 3 – Add numbers and characters, i.e. #2008Cys,ocys!
  1. Use a password stem to remember unique passwords.  Add a different pre- or post-fix to your password per account. It makes remembering multiple unique passwords easier.
  1. Avoid using any of the following; special dates such as birth and anniversary dates, pet names, spouse, and children’s name, or even your address. Most of this information can be found on social networking sites.

Contact Mike Wilson at mikewilson1@cwi.edu or 208.562.3193 with questions or for more cybersecurity tips, questions, and information.