Throughout this course, we've taught you what makes and doesn't make a secure password. So, you may be wondering: how secure is one of your own passwords? This article will give you a quick checklist of things you can look for to know whether your passwords are secure or not.
We'll split the checklist into two parts: one part dealing with creating a strong password, and the other part regarding keeping your password safe.
Length: Is my password a sufficient length (at least 8 characters)?
Variance: Does my password contain letters, numbers, and symbols (or at least two of these)?
Capitalization: If my password contains letters, does it contain both capital and non-capital letters?
Balance: Does my password have a balanced amount of each different type of character in it?
Random: Does my password NOT follow a recognizable pattern (such as a word or phrase)?
Impersonal: Does my password NOT contain references to any personal information?
Memorable: Is my password based on some sort of quote or phrase that helps me remember it?
Do I have some sort of memory trick that helps me remember my passwords?
If I write my passwords or their related clues down in case I forget them, are they on a physical piece of paper, and NOT on my computer somewhere?
If my passwords or their related clues are written down, are they stored in a safe place where only I know where they are and/or can get at them?
Do I NOT use the same password for multiple website accounts?
If I don't write my passwords or their related clues down, do I use an online password manager to store them securely in "the cloud"?
If I use a password manager, does it have a very strong master password?
Do I log out of my password manager and/or Internet accounts when I'm done using them?
Do I know how to change my passwords for various accounts, and do I change them every few months?
Do I know how to reset my passwords if I forget them or think that they've been cracked?
Is there another computer besides my own personal one that I can use to reset a password if I think that one of my Internet accounts has been broken into?
If you'd like to test the strength of your individual passwords, many password managers have functions that allow you to do this. Some, like LastPass, even let you check the strength of your entire password system, such as how recently you've changed each of your passwords or whether or not you're using the same password for multiple website accounts.
One password manager, RoboForm, allows you to use their password security checker tool right on their website. Click here to access it for free.
There is also even a website called How Secure is My Password that allows you to check the strength of your password.
Simply type one of your passwords into either of these tools. They will tell you how long it would take the average hacker to break it, and give you suggestions on how you might make it stronger.
Well, that's pretty much all that you need to remember about creating strong, secure passwords! For our final lesson in this course, we're going to give you a bit of extra help in case you're having trouble coming up with strong passwords on your own. Believe it or not, there are actually programs that can pull random secure passwords out of thin air for you! We'll show you how to use them next time!
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