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Cyber Security Awareness Compaign

University of Luxembourg and the Fondation RESTENA

Passwords

Choose your passwords carefully and keep them safe

About Passwords

In today’s life, we are using passwords every day for accessing our e-mail or social media accounts or logging in at our workplace.

The password is one of the basic elements in computer security and still remains the most used method of authentication.

Passwords are used to protect your data, accounts and services.

Therefore it is essential to choose a good password and keep it secret, so that no one can impersonate you and access your personal and confidential information.

Strong passwords are essential for your own protection.

What is a good password?

A good password should be complex and long enough not to be guessed by others but should remain easy enough for you to remember.

A good password should be:

  • quite long, at least 10 characters, ideally 14 to 16 characters, or even longer,
  • an unusual combination of numbers, characters and symbols,
  • without identifiable meaning,
  • easy to remember.

Combine letters, numbers and symbols.
The greater variety of characters that you have
in your password, the harder it is to guess!

ENISA PDF Poster

Therefore, never use easy-to-guess passwords like:

Here are some, less obvious things to avoid:

Try to avoid anything predictable: start your password with some other symbol.

How to create a password that is safe and easy to remember?

Secure passwords are often seen as too difficult to remember.

There are some handy tricks for creating complex and strong passwords, which remain nevertheless reasonably convenient.

One method consists in choosing a non common or popular phrase or verse that is easy to remember and retaining only the initials of each word and then replacing certain letters with numbers or symbols in order to increase the complexity.

Sentence 1: "I watch Grey's Anatomy at 22.15"
Password: "IwG'sA@22.15"

Sentence 2: “Brrr, it’s really cold this morning, - 9 degrees:-(”
Password: “B,irctm,-9d:-(”

Be creative when you are creating your password!

Another possibility is to use an entire phrase or sentence, also known as passphrase. Passphrases tend to be more secure than traditionals passwords due to their length, yet are easier to remember since they retain a clear meaning to their creator.

Passphrase – Longer, more complex to crack and easier to remember.

However a passphrase must also be carefully chosen:

Whenever possible, use a passphrase for extra security.

Password security

Along with creating strong passwords, you should also:

A good way to create passwords and keep them safe is by using a password manager. Depending on the tool you choose it will not only allow you to create strong passwords for each of your accounts but might also allow you to access them on multiple devices.

In summary, password security means:

  • keep your password absolutely secret and safe;
  • long passphrases are better and are easy to remember;
  • a different password for every account;
  • be careful not to reveal passwords in untrustworthy environments;
  • make sure your computer and/or device is malware free;
  • use two-factor authentication wherever you can.

Compromised Password

When account access is gained by breaking your password, the consequences can be serious, the hackers can potentially:

If you think one of your accounts might be compromised, be sure to change the password as soon as possible and contact the IT team to help you.

Generally speaking, an email is the most critical account and deserves special care. As many platforms allow password recovery via email, it is a sesame to your complete online identiy.

Responsibility

Chosing a reasonably strong password and keeping it secret is any computer user's own responsibility. Always keep in mind the possible consequences for you and others of a trivial password.


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