Over the last few months, we have had several people have their webmail accounts hacked. All of the users had simple passwords, something that can be found in the dictionary. If you can catch it when it happens relatively soon after the hacking, your e-mail and contacts will remain intact. However, a significant amount of time lapses (several hours), the hacker will disable your account, change your secret questions and render the account useless. Most of the time, these web based accounts are not backed up, so you also run the risk of losing all of your e-mail.
Below are tips on what you should and should not use for your password. As always, if you have any questions, please call us at 1-630-1207 and we can walk you through resetting your password.
What you should not use as your password:
- Do not use your social security number or your birthdate as part of the password
- Easy to guess passwords such as a blank or “password”
- Your name, spouse’s name, or partner’s name
- Your pet’s name or your child’s name
- Names of your favorite fantasy characters
- Anybody’s name
- String of numbers or letters, like 1234 or abcd
- Your phone number or your license plate number
- Any part of your social security number
- Anybody’s birth date
- Other information easily obtained about you (e.g., address, town, alma mater)
- A word in the English or in a foreign dictionary
- Place names or any proper nouns
- All the same letter
- Simple patterns of letters on the keyboard, like asdfg, qwerty
- Any of the above spelled backwards
What you SHOULD use as your password:
- Incorporate numbers and special characters in your password, for example change roomie into R00m!3.
- Alternate numbers within a misspelled word with upper and lowercase: My#2BrAtZ.
- Have a favorite song? Take the first letter of each word of the title: YAM5MO5 (You are My Sunshine My Only Sunshine, but use the 5s for the Ss.)
- Take an acronym and create your own word: FootPa6.
- Use the first initials of your family members with numbers: e0b1j8ebj (Erin, Bryan, John, with numbers corresponding to a part of their date of birth).
Below are some ideas for coming up with safe passwords:
- Use a minimum of 8 characters in your password
- Use a combination of numbers and letters
- If you are having problems thinking of a password, choose a dictionary word and convert the lletters to numbers. Some ideas are: 0=O, 1=I, E=3,S=5,S=$
- Use at least 1 capital letter and 1 number
- If the application allows, use one of the following characters in your password : !@#$%&*
- Spell a word phonetically with a combination of numbers