Custom Information Services

Internet Password Security Guidelines

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Take a quick count of how many accounts you have that are accessible on the Internet today.  These accounts include all e-mail accounts, bank accounts, bill-related accounts, social media, and many others.  The majority of people have at least 10 of these accounts, or more.  These accounts are your overall footprint on the Internet.

This is the age of the Internet.  People are fully plugged in.  The Internet is accessible at home, when you are in your car, when you are at work, and wherever you go.  The Internet links all of us (the entire world) together.  As your footprint on the Internet increases, so does your visibility to others.  Most of the time people do not consider this aspect.  Your connection to the Internet is a two-way street.  Not only are you “more connected”, and things are more convenient, but you are also more vulnerable to the many threats that can happen over the Internet.

Properly securing all of the accounts that you have on the Internet is one of the most important responsibilities that you have.  It is just as important as locking the front door of your house, or making sure that you do not leave your purse or wallet sitting on a table in a restaurant.  I am going to provide you with some proven techniques to exponentially increase the security of your accounts.

  • Passwords – This is the single most important piece of security that you have.  Do not be lazy in the  creativeness that you use to set your passwords.
    • Just because it is called a pass”word”, does not mean that it has to be an actual word.
    • Try your best to not use a password that is related to you, or your life.  If you do use something that is related to your life, then try combining two different pieces that would not add up.  Like your son’s name with your daughter’s birthday.  Once you have come up with that password, change it up.  Add something to it that has nothing to do with it.  Adding numbers or special characters is a good way to do this.
    • When you add a number, add it to the beginning, or right in the middle.  Too many people will just put a number at the end of the password.  Starting the password with numbers changes it up.  More numbers are obviously better.
    • When you use special characters do not use the usual “$”, or “!”.  Try to use characters that are rarely used.  Once again, put these in the middle of your password, or at the front and back.  Replace letters with characters that look like that letter.  For instance, replace an “I” with an “!”.
    • Do not use the same password for everything.  If it is a password for your online bank account, it should be twice as complex, and only used for one single account.  Your e-mail account should not have the same password as your bank account.
    • Password Retrieval – Every website account has a way to retrieve your password in the event that you forget it.  This method that is available on the website needs to be secured as well.  If it is not, then you could easily have someone reset your account password.
      • A lot of websites will ask personal questions for verification.  When you set up the account, you will give answers to these personal questions.  If you give the correct answers, then they will allow you to reset the password.  A lot of people do not think about how many people actually know the answers to most of these questions about them.  You can easily secure this method.  I will give you an example.
        • The question is:  In what city were you born?  A simple way to secure this is to use some bogus answer that makes no sense.  Something that you will remember.  Do not answer a city.  Give it an answer like “MickeyMouse”.  This secures that question exponentially to where only you would know the answer.
        • Auto-Login – This is a setting that most websites provide.  Do not use it.  Always require yourself to log in.  Enabling the auto-login feature will give anyone access to that website on that computer.  At that point, they can make any change to your account that they want.  It is extremely important that you pay attention to this setting.

It is essential for you to realize that all of these guidelines will do no good if you are visiting sites that will give you adware, malware, and viruses.  It is just as important to have a reliable Antivirus product installed on your computer that is up to date.  If you do not have antivirus software installed, you can easily end up with malware that has any number of key loggers.  Key loggers can log every keystroke that you type on your computer, and then send that information to hackers.  There is no amount of password security that can protect you if you don’t have the proper antivirus program(s) installed.

I know that all of these guidelines can make it intimidating to create passwords.  However, the purpose of this article is to give you some good pointers and tips that will help.  Do not be intimidated.  The goal is to be smart.  Be smart in your creation of passwords, and your overall security on the Internet.

Following these simple guidelines can easily make your footprint on the Internet much more secure.  With that added security, you can have peace of mind that your data is safe.  This will allow you to enjoy the Internet to its fullest.

Custom Information Services or CIS is a Microsoft Gold Partner, our staff of Certified Technicians  have assisted hundreds of  companies to develop and upgrade their current business and technology solutions to meet the evolving demands of their businesses.

The CIS Network Services Division offers Managed IT Solutions, Special Projects such as Relocation Services, Telecom Solutions, Technology Planning, Support, and more, to any industry.

Our offices in Arlington are centrally located for our Dallas/Fort Worth customers.  CIS has also been implementing and supporting Dynamics GP and Vicinity Manufacturing for the process and discrete manufacturers/distributors throughout Texas.

By Jonas Valdez, MCSE  MCSA, Custom Information Services

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