Most of us are careless with our passwords. We choose
our kids and pets names, our birthdates and anniversaries. We never
change them and keep the same password forever. All of this makes us
vulnerable to some sort of theft.
and PINs are important and should be chosen
with care. If they fall into the wrong hands it can cost you a lot of
time, money and embarrassment. Your Internet password is as important
as your banking Personal Identification Number.
While all of us are aware of the dangers of letting
other people know our PINs and credit card details, we're too casual
when it comes to protecting ourselves. Most
people have their Internet account linked to their phone bill, credit
card or bank account. With your password not only can criminals run
up bills for excess time or downloads, they can use your account to
hack others, send spam or post offensive and illegal material.
The first step to securing your password is to stop
others knowing it. Dont stick
your password to your monitor and dont
give it out to other users. Even your children are a risk, we have seen
cases where kids have let slip passwords to their friends with expensive
You then need a password that is difficult to guess
or crack. The best passwords are a combination of six or more letters,
numbers and symbols. Dont choose a common phrase and NEVER choose
the same as your login. Remember that most fraud is an inside job, from
someone you know, thats why kids and pets names and birthdays
are out as well.
• Use your street number, followed by suburb or
street name, followed by post code. For instance 700Harris2007.
• Choose the date and location of your last, or next, holiday. Eg,
• Use your grandmother maiden initials followed
by her birthyear, followed by your mothers maiden initials and her birthyear
followed by yours (e.g. db21ds43sw66).
• You could substitute numbers for letters. You substitute 3 for e,
0 or o, 1 for i or l, etc. So the password Doris becomes D0r1s.
• Another technique is to use a phrase or rhyme
youll remember. It could be the initials of your school motto
with the year you left. You could use years your football team won the
premiership and initials of the captains. There are all sorts of possibilities.
Be creative, and keep in mind you have to remember them.
• The most secure way is to use a randomly generated password. We've
put some links to password generating sites at the bottom of this article.
But be warned, you have to remember them!
It is also important to vary your passwords. Having
the same password for everything is dangerous, if one password or PIN
is discovered all your accounts are at risk. Try to have two or three
and change them on a regular basis.
It's also important to change them when there is
a change in your life or business. If you break up with your partner
(business or personal) then you should change your passwords and PINs.
If you run a business you should change them whenever someone leaves
the business. It is no joke to find your bank account empty, your cards
maxed out and a two-thousand dollar Internet bill. This does happen.
This may all sound alarmist, but your passwords
and PINs are as good as cash to the wrong people. Even if you are covered
for the losses, undoing the damage done can be time consuming and frustrating.
Keep your passwords safe.
Further tips on secure passwords
Hackers attack e-bay accounts
Updated 8 January 2003