Passwords; Please Help!

Just when you’re getting comfortable with all those passwords, you find out it’s time to make a change.

You are not alone. The average user has between 20 and 30 accounts that require a password. How in the world can you remember them all? And if you are using the same password for multiple accounts to make it easier, you are not doing yourself a favor. In fact, it can open your accounts to hacking, all of them.

The problem is hackers change their methods of harvesting passwords all the time. It is more important than ever to keep your passwords up-to-date and as “strong” as possible.

Strong Passwords

What defines a “strong“ password? ITC’s current password policy is 12 or more characters. Your password must contain at least two capital letters (A-Z), two lower case letters (a-z), include at least two special characters (examples: !&#$), and two numbers (0-9). ITC suggests you do not use your username or others names or words.

It is important not to use the same password for all your accounts. If one account gets hacked and they have the password, your other accounts would be open to compromise.

Never use personal information when creating a password. This might be easier for you to remember but personal information can be available publicly as well and therefore easier for a hacker to access.

Remembering Passwords

So, how am I supposed to remember all those passwords? One of the easiest ways is to create a mnemonic: A mnemonic is a phrase, or rhyme, usually made from the first letters of whatever you want to remember. For example: “M$liMN&h10k!” which is “My sister lives in MN and has 10 kids!” The “s” is exchanged for a “$” and the “and” is exchanged for the “&” symbol.

Probably the most important thing is how you store your passwords. If you have a list by the computer, move it to a safer place now! If you have a “Little black book” with all your passwords, this might not be much safer.

There are a number of password managers that are great tools for storing your passwords. A password manager can also help you create more complex passwords that won’t be so easily hacked. Some options to consider are LastPass, 1Password, Dashlane, or Roboform.

Creating strong passwords can significantly reduce the chance of your information being stolen. It’s worth the time you spend. If you need help updating one of your ITC email accounts, call the 24/7 ITC Help Desk at 1.888.217.5718, and a technician will assist you!