How to beef up your passwords


Posted on Thursday August 1, 2019

Passwords are a common part of being online, and if we’re not careful about how we compose our passwords, we could leave the door open for some big problems!

Choosing a strong password is an easy and effective way to help protect your identity and stop others from hijacking your accounts. Using different passwords for different applications can help protect your accounts if one of them is compromised.

Did your password make Google’s list of the worst passwords? If so, it might be time to change it! These are the passwords to avoid:
• Pet names
• A notable date, such as a wedding anniversary
• A family member’s birthday
• Your child’s name
• Another family member’s name
• Your birthplace
• A favourite holiday
• Something related to your favorite sports team
• The name of a significant other
• The word “Password”
Here are a few tips and tricks for creating a strong and memorable password. You should:
• Include numbers, symbols and upper and lowercase letters (2, $, L, u)
•Make it more than 8 characters long whenever possible
• Avoid dictionary words and a sequence of the same character (‘aaa’, ‘111’)
• Use phonetics (e.g. IcUr2bz!—I see you are too busy!)
• Be creative. Think of your favorite hobby or sport and change some of the characters (e.g. use a “2” to replace a “to”). For example, “I love to watch hockey at night!” can be modified to “ILuv2WatchH@n!”
In addition, you should never:
• post your password anywhere in sight;
• keep it in your files; or
• give it to anyone else.
If you think your password has been compromised, change it immediately!

Contributed by: Public Works and Government Services Canada