The most basic element of security for thousands of years has been the password. The concept behind passwords translates well to modern technological systems and computers. There are three categories of people with regards to passwords: people that don't use passwords (the gamblers), people that use poor passwords (the lazy), and people that use good passwords (the smart).

If you fall into the first category, you are just asking to be made prey of and should really consider adopting a password before something bad happens (if it hasn't already). As far as what separates the second and third category, it really is about how long and diverse your password is. In my book, I talk in depth about the importance of passwords and how to create a good password in 10 minutes or less. Here, I would like to give you the key points about a good password.

  1. It must be at least 9 characters long.
  2. It should contain no dictionary words (i.e. fish in fish0123, drum in drum987, and password in Password1).
  3. It should have a combination of upper case, lower case, and numerical characters (if you are permitted to, use special characters like #, !, &, *, and % as well).

If you follow these rules you will create a string of characters that is relatively short in length but strong enough to withstand most reasonable brute force attacks that try combinations of strings until a match is found. In addition to having a long, diverse password, you must also exercise the following practices when dealing with your password(s):

  1. Change your password every few months (if you want to save some effort, combine old passwords to make a new string that is extra strong).
  2. Never write your password down where others can find it.
  3. Never give your password to anyone (especially in email).