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lady_doc77 06-22-2007 10:31 AM

What Makes a Password Strong
Whenever you surf the net and access your email and other data, you are always asked to enter your password. You may either have a different password for each of your accounts or just one for all of them. But how can you make your password strong enough? Microsoft usually suggests a password with at least six to eight characters but using more characters is better. It should at least contain a mixture of letters, numbers and special characters, in the upper or lower case and randomly selected.

Unfortunately, most people tend to use a familiar term like a birthday, name, or repetitive numbers as a password to be able to remember it easily. Here are some guidelines that you can use to make your password as unique and secure as can be and avoid other people accessing your information especially if contains very important data.

1. Use numbers as letters — There are numbers that resemble letters and letters that resemble numbers. Examples of these are the letter I which looks like the number 1, 5 like an S, 2 like a Z and 3 like an E. You can substitute the numbers or letters for a common word, making it easy to remember at the same time, secure.

2. Using special characters in place of letters or numbers — You can also try substituting $ sign for a capital S, an exclamation point (!) for a lower case l or upper case I. You could even interchange its use or utilize its literal meaning such as @ for at, % for percent, # for number, etc.

3. Splitting Words — You can use a common phrase and insert a special character or a number as a space holder between the words. An example of this is the phrase At Home with Mom and Dad. It can be made into @home*wid%mom&dad as your password.

4. Use a Favorite Movie Quote or Song — You can also use a favorite movie, quote, or song. If it just a short one, then you can just substitute the letters. But if it is a long one, you can use the first letters of each word and make it into a password. Example is The Lord of the Rings: Return of the King. It can be made into “tLotR*RotK”

5. Use a Foreign Language — If you are one of those fortunate to know more than one language, you can use a mixture of words from different languages as your password. Example is “bonjourmister” for a combination of French and English. You can be as creative as you want for your password.

To add more security to your files, it is recommended that you change your password every three months. You can configure your computer to remind you to change your password when it is near the deadline and prompt you to do it on the day itself. It is sometimes better to change your password on a Monday to be able to get used to it for the whole week.

Having strong passwords is important in keeping your business and personal data secure from being accessed by unauthorized people. One very common mistake and a very important one at that is writing down your password for everyone to access. It is useless to make a fifteen character password that you will just stick on the monitor of your computer. So, remember this when you are asked to give a password. It will save a deal of stress and heartache in the future.

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