Wednesday, November 9, 2011

WoW: A friendly reminder... change your passwords!

Daylight Savings Time ended on Sunday, for those of us who live in DST-observing areas, so that means that once again, it's time to change your passwords and the batteries in your smoke detector, too! Oh, and your clocks... if you haven't done that yet...

I won't repeat the entire security spiel and password speil... here's the cliffnotes version for a review. (If you're a new WoW reader in the last 6 months or so, you might want to read the whole spiel this time and then you catch the review here again in another 6 months. :)

Step 1: create a new strong root password. A strong password...
  • is not a word that can be found in the dictionary
  • does not include personal information for you or your family (names, birth dates, etc)
  • contains 7+ characters
  • uses a combination of uppercase and lowercase letters, numbers, and special characters (* . ?)
  • is easy for you to remember and hard to guess, such as a the first letter of each word in a line of your favorite song or a unique phrase
example: sr.tR4k! (derived from the phrase "silly rabbit, trix are for kids!")

Step 2: Update to your new password as you go, adding a site-specific prefix/suffix to your strong root password (explained in more detail here). Every time you log in to a new account over the next week (or however long it takes), take a minute to update your password to the new password. 
example: add the first letter or two to the beginning or end of the root password, such as disr.tR4k!, sr.tR4k!d, etc for a  Disney account

Other tips:
  • For your most important accounts (such as online banking), I suggest creating a different strong password. An extra precaution to keep important things extra safe.
  • When you come to a site that won't allow a part of your strong password (such as an !), just drop it from the password and make a note of it in your password list. Your password list should contain ONLY enough information to jog your memory as needed, not enough information that someone who is not you could figure out your password from the information there. The list should definitely NOT contain your actual password. :)  
So, any questions? Or suggestions for how to break it to my husband that I've changed the passwords yet again, when he was just remembering the old ones? :)

Lu (or Lorene if you prefer) is the mom of two sweet little things (except on the days that they aren't) and the wife of a singing and dancing elementary teacher. She is the proud author of this weekly Wednesdays on the Web (WotW) segment here on Housewife Eclectic and spends the other days of the week blogging about crafts and whatever else comes up at just Lu.

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