Password tricks to trip up ID thieves

  • Tue Aug 21st, 2007 10:28am
  • Life

By Sarah Welch and Alicia Rockmore

In the age of the Internet, passwords have proliferated like bunny rabbits.

In fact, the entire process of getting on and using the Internet is filled with passwords each step of the way. Logging in to a wireless network: Password please. Accessing e-mail: Enter password. Checking your bank balance: Type in Password.

The good news. By making your passwords less predictable, you can outwit anyone trying to steal your password, while not outwitting yourself.

It is easier to start with what you should not use. These include: Your name, your spouse’s name, your pet’s name, your phone number, your license plate number, any part of your Social Security number, anybody’s birth date, any part of your address, simple patterns on the keyboard “sarah1”).

Some experts even go so far as to recommend not using any actual words from the dictionary.

1: Creating the ultimate password

Use the first letter of each word in a phrase you can easily remember. For example, “There’s no place like Seattle in the summer” would be “TnplSits.”

If you really want to use a name, such as “JohnJacob”, try replacing the “o” with the two parentheses marks, “(” and “),” so it would be “J()hnJac()b.”

The longer the password, the better. It’s harder to crack.

2: Keep a secure list

Don’t keep it on a sticky note that’s affixed to the computer.

3: Change passwords, occasionally

Change your password(s) every 90 to 120 days, and don’t use passwords you have used before.