What's the last thing you do when you're leaving your home each morning to go to work? You lock the door, right?
Your home has doors and windows, and most of the time, they're locked. For each lock in your home that uses a key, chances are that each key is different. You know to lock up each time you leave, not to share the keys with strangers, and you know not to put the keys under the mat or in a flower pot on your front porch.
Passwords for computers are much the same. For each computer and service you use, you should have a password. Each password should be unique and unrelated to the other passwords. You shouldn't write them down, nor should you share them with anyone.
Take a look at your front door key. It's complicated, with lots of notches and grooves. If there weren't so many variations, a thief could easily make a key for every possible combination and try them on your front door until he finds the right one. But no matter how complicated your key is, if a thief gets his hands on it, he can copy it and use it to open your front door, and walk right into your home and help himself.
A password can also be complicated. You can make it as complicated as you want. Use both upper and lower case letters, and even numbers.
But just like the key to your front door, a complicated password can be copied and used. A thief may be able to see your password online, save it, and use it. This process is called sniffing, and its a common practice.
You need to follow the practice of using a unique password with every account you have. Ask yourself the following questions when you create a password:
• Is the password strong?
• Is the password unique and unrelated to any of your other passwords?
• Can you remember it without writing it down?
• Have you changed it recently?
Taking these precautions will not only help protect your files and folders on your home computer, but it can help protect your personal information when you are shopping online. Take the time to be cautious.