Choose good passwords
Unfortunately the internet stopped being a 'friendly neighborhood' many years ago. By now a large industry has developed that depends on hacking into all sorts of online accounts for all sorts of bad purposes. Computer security is complicated, but little can be done if login accounts have poor passwords.
How does this affect you?
Any website that you log into needs your help to keep it secure. Accounts on a website can be compromised if ...
- Passwords are easy to guess (too short or using known patterns like words in dictionary, stolen lists of passwords, etc).
- Passwords are reused on other websites (then stealing the password of one site can compromise the other sites).
If the password of your account on a website is compromised that usually means:
- The information protected by that password may be compromised.
- A malevolent person has gained access to the system and might do additional damage.
Thus it is very important that you choose good (= long and unpredictable) passwords.
How to manage many passwords
This course website is one among many that provides you with a login. Do not reuse any other password on this site.
One proven method for choosing a good password is to
- Think of a sentence with about as many words as you need characters in your password (use 12 or better 20 as minimum as you can do on this course website; older advice of 8 character minimum is outdated now due to computing advances).
- Make a password by taking the initial letter of each word.
If that sounds too complicated, before choosing shorter passwords, think of a "passphrase" that you type in without spaces between the words.
In either case never put anything anybody could possibly know about you in a password.