Tip #15 Your First Line of Defense: Strong Passwords

Image: "Knights in Shining Armor," Pascal, Flickr.

Image: “Knights in Shining Armor,” Pascal, Flickr.

Your workout buddy, Fred tells you his Facebook account is acting glitchy. He wants to look up on Facebook this month’s schedule of classes at Crossfit, so he asks if he can use your account on his phone.

“Sure,” you say. You’ve forgotten that you only met Fred last month. But you feel like you’ve known him forever. He seems like a nice guy. “Easy as pie,” you tell him. “It’s ‘apple123,’” you say while you type next to the blinking cursor. “Thanks, Bud!” says Fred.

Fast forward to the next morning. You’re at Starbucks, and your first cup of coffee is only a gulp away. Except you’re staring at “insufficient funds” on the card swiper. Turns out, while you were sleeping, your buddy, Fred (later you’ll discover his name was not Fred), hacked into your bank account last night. It was easy to do, since you use the same password for everything.

Even though it’s tempting to use a single password that’s easy to remember, that won’t do you any good against hackers, who are pretty smart when it comes to figuring out easy passwords–and even more difficult ones.

A strong password is your first line of defense against intruders and imposters. Also, using a different password for every site you go to is an equally strong line of defense to take.

To be safe, make sure your password uses upper and lower case letters, numbers, and characters. Change it often, too. At Fordham University, we want you to be careful, so we require everyone to change their AccessIT ID password every 180 days. Read more about Fordham’s password policies and guidelines.

 

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