I’ve got a bit of a reputation with my family for being the “password tyrant”. I honestly wasn’t trying to be a pain when I created password policies requiring 15 character passwords containg both upper and lower case characters plus a number and symbol on every family member’s computer I could get my hands on.

I do this out of love.

I don’t want my mom getting hacked. I don’t want you to go through that either.

Let’s take a look at my Do’s and Don’ts.

– Use personal or family information, at all. This includes names, birthdates, addresses etc. in any form.
– Use the same password for everything. Honestly, you should have a unique password for absolutely everything. If your email and banking password are the same they are both compromised if one is found out. This also means spouses should not be using the same passwords.

– User a password that is both upper and lower case and has at least one number and one symbol. It needs to be at least ten characters long. (the length is debatable but at least ten characters is my recommendation.)
– Avoid nouns (person, place, thing) in general. The best password is not a word at all. The more it looks like gibberish, the better. Often a hacker will have a “wordlist” of millions of words. The words in the list are run against the service they are trying to hack. This is called a dictionary attack. If your password is not a word, then it will not be in a wordlist.
– Change your passwords regularly. A good strategy is to change all passwords when you change your clocks. Even the best password in the world can be picked up by a key logger.

To get an idea of how your password measures up test it here.

You’re looking for a rating of Best.

If you’re thinking “wow, that really sounds like a pain in the butt” then I agree with you. Though I promise your new ridiculously long, complex, password will be less frustrating than having somebody else in control of your email or online banking.

You can’t go back in time and make up for poor passwords. Make yours great today!