How to keep your accounts secure with strong passwords

Creating a secure password for one account can seem like a challenge, trying to remember multiple secure passwords for multiple accounts can be stressful and daunting.  It can be tempting to reuse a single password for multiple accounts but this is never a good idea as cybercriminals steal passwords on websites that have very little security, and will then try the same user name and password on other sites.   Password reuse therefore creates a security vulnerability which could provide an attacker with easy access to many of your accounts and compromise a vast amount of your information.

The best idea is to use separate passwords for all your important accounts which provide access to important information about you like your College network or email account, iTunes account, Amazon account, PayPal, Linkedin, Facebook etc.

How can I manage all my passwords?

One useful way to manage you passwords is to use a password management application like Keepass. This is a small application which you can install on your computer and use to store your password information. The application is encrypted and password protected.  Obviously you should choose a really strong password to protect this application and remember to transfer and delete all information when you buy a new computer.

How do I create a strong password?

The key ideas to think about when creating a password are:

  • Length – Make your passwords long with 8 or more characters.
  • Complexity – Include letters, symbols, and numbers and a variety of upper and lower case characters.
  • Test it online – When you think you have come up with a secure password you can check it with an online password checker.

There are many ways to create a long, complex password. Here are some ideas which might help you create a strong password which you can remember:

 What to do Example
First start with a sentence. I work in the school of english.
Then remove the spaces between the words in the sentence. Iworkintheschoolofenglish
Next capitalise the first letter of each word IWorkInTheSchoolOfEnglish
Turn words into shorthand or intentionally misspell a word. IWrkInTheSkoolOfEgn
Finally add length and complexity with numbers and special characters. Put numbers that are meaningful to you after the sentence. IWrk1nTh3Sk00lOfEgn#2013

Remember to avoid the most common password mistakes

Avoid creating passwords that use:

  • Dictionary words.
  • Sequences or repeated characters. -For example 12345678, 3333333, abcdefg, or adjacent letters on your keyboard (qwerty).
  • Your personal information such as your name or birthday.
  • Information connected to the account for example a poor password to use for your College network account would be ‘Trinity1’ or ‘College2’ .

Password Manager

Finally remember to sign up for TCD Password Manager, this is a web-based application which allows staff and students to manage and reset their network login password. For a complete set of instructions on how to get started using Password Manager as a member of staff please see staff information, and as a student please see student information.

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