CREATING A STRONG PASSWORD
WHAT TO DO AND WHAT TO AVOID
Contrary to popular belief password management is quite simple. All you need is to learn a few tricks. Let’s review what should be avoided when creating a strong password:
- Don’t Using Common Words or Phrases. These are susceptible to both human and computer-based dictionary attacks (e.g. password, iloveyou, 123456, qwerty).
- Avoid Dictionary Words. This includes words from any language (using multiple words mushed together is okay, more on this later).
- No Repeating Characters. These are quickly hacked by automated programs (e.g. ababab, 111111).
- Ditch Replacement Characters. Looks alike numbers or symbols for characters is no longer strong enough (e.g. p@$$w0rd, m1cr0s0ft, sw33t).
- Avoid Personal Information. Names of family members, friends, pets, birthdates, addresses, phone numbers and license numbers.
- Check for Compromised Passwords. If your password exists in any compromised password database, it should be changed. Resources are listed below to help identify if any of your accounts are compromised.
- Do Not Reuse. Each password for every account should be different.
- Sharing is Bad. Never share your passwords with anyone else.
- Avoid Writing Down Passwords. This includes books, scrap paper, and under your keyboard.
WHAT MAKES A STRONG PASSWORD
Now that we know what to avoid, let’s expand on what makes a strong password and how to create them.
- Go Long on Your Passwords. A strong password should be at least ten characters long.
- Choose a Passphrase. Choose a phrase or sentence with at least ten words. This should be something that is easy for you to remember but would be hard for others to guess. A line from a poem, song, movie, quote, etc are all examples of where you might get this phrase. For our example, we will use Mary Had A Little Lamb With Fleece As White As Snow.
- Use The First Letter. By removing all letters except the first, our example becomes mhallwfawas.
- Add a Mix of Upper and Lower Case Letters. Our passphrase may now look like MhaLLwfAwaS.
- DO Include Number, Symbols and Special Characters. Now let’s add a number and one or two special characters that can replace some of our letters or add to our password. Now our passphrase may look something like Mh@LLwfAwaS!. Here we replace the ‘a’ with @ and added an exclamation point to the end.
- Use a Random Combination of Words. Much like the passphrase, using multiple unrelated random words can create very strong passwords as well. All the same rules above apply, just using random words instead of a phrase. For example, dog train and blue could be good as dogtrainblue, better as DogTrainBlue and better yet as Dog@TrainBlue3.
- Implement a Password Manager. A password manager will help keep all your accounts and passwords safe while allowing you to remember A SINGLE PASSWORD. There are various password manager offerings and many are free; try LastPass, 1Password or Dashlane.
GOING RANDOM: THE BEST WAY TO TAKE YOUR PASSWORDS TO THE NEXT LEVEL
If random passwords are used for each site, the chances of a compromise decrease dramatically. However, a password like p7gNh$aT730&(8)@dr is not memorable and hard to type. This is where the password manager really shines. Not only will it remember these long and random passwords, but they will create them for you as well. Password managers make creating strong, random passwords for each site a very easy task to achieve.
CREATING A STRONG PASSWORD IS THE KEY TO A MORE SECURE DIGITAL LIFE
Passwords are the keys to your digital life. Passwords are the keys to your digital life that lock the doors to your personal information, digital resources and finances. Traditional and weak passwords can be cracked in less than a minute! By using these steps to create and maintain strong passwords is an easy step you can take to help protect those precious resources.
YOUR USERS ARE THE WEAK LINK IN YOUR NETWORK
Today, your employees are frequently exposed to sophisticated phishing and ransomware attacks. Let the experts at OCS train your employees to stay on their toes and keep network security at the top of their minds.
We began working with Optimized Computer Solutions and Joe Goldstein nearly 2 years ago. If you have a physician practice and are needing IT support, this is the company to work with! Joe’s background in HIPAA compliance, coupled with his knowledge of medical practices and networking systems is second to none! We’ve made many strides in the right direction assuring our network is not only secure but that we also run efficiently. When a computer or networking issue arises, OCS is timely and knowledgeable in helping to resolve the issue. As a Practice Administrator, my team is grateful for the working relationship and support we receive from OCS!
Joe, with Optimized Computer Solutions, is the consummate professional who is not only easy to work with but incredibly knowledgeable in technology solutions. Running a business is hard enough by itself and being able to hand over the IT component has been invaluable to making my business run. Joe has been able to trouble shoot, fix and offer solutions that have saved my business time and money. I would highly recommend Joe and Optimized Computer Solutions to any business in need of superior IT help and solutions.
Optimized Computer Solutions, under the direction and ownership of Joe Goldstein, RESCUED our 12 physician, 8 office Otolaryngology practice. We were faced with a dysfunctional money losing situation and needed to make a change. We were successfully guided through this process under an extremely tight timeline. We came through this difficult experience on time and under budget.
With the guidance and support from OC Solutions, I am more confident then ever that my organization is prepared for the multitude of threats that we as healthcare providers are exposed to on a daily basis.
I cannot recommend Joe Goldstein and the OC Solutions team highly enough. As the CEO of Health to Hope Clinics, I worked with OC Solutions to help us select and deploy a new EMR system. As a Federally Qualified Heath Clinic system we had very unique requirements for an EMR. The requirements for data collection and reporting are quite extensive to say the least.
Joe walked us through the process of scoping our requirements, reviewing solutions, and getting proposals from the three EMRs that fit us best. He went through the painstaking process of sowing the pricing options in a succinct apples-to-apples comparison between the three best solutions. He helped us negotiate pricing that was a fraction of what we thought we would have to spend, while still selecting the system that fit us best.
Once we selected our EMR, Joe managed the hardware upgrades and complete deployment of the system. He led the execution of the entire project on schedule and on budget. Every project of this kind has its frustrations and glitches. Ours were far below what I had expected. In my entire career I can count on one hand when that has happened. I’d highly recommend OC Solutions to anyone who needs strong IT management of their healthcare organization.
I would like to recommend Joe Goldstein and Optimized Computer Solutions for your computer network development, deployment, and support programs.
Acris Solutions has contracted with Optimized Computer Solutions since July 2009. In that time they have facilitated our migration from a physical server environment to a virtualized server environment. In doing so we reduced our physical number of servers by one-half allowing Acris Solutions to eliminate one full rack in our datacenter and its associated costs. They have deployed upgrades to our firewalls, SAN, network design and domain infrastructure including the replacement of over 20 pieces of old equipment with new servers and storage appliances. Optimized Computer Solutions has been instrumental in the installation and deployment of the XenApp Citrix connection platform and our migration from Windows XP/ Office 2003 to Windows 7 /Office 2010. They have partnered with Acris Solutions in the launch of multiple new customers supporting over 350 users in multiple branch locations.
They have provided Acris Solutions with level 1,2 and 3 support on a 24/7/365 basis with tiered responses time graduate from four hours for minor incidents to one hour for major/severe incidents. In providing these levels of support we have achieved customer satisfaction levels of 98% or better.
I believe that Optimized Computers Solutions will be a partner with Acris Solutions for many years to come and I know that they will meet your expectations in the performance of their duties within the scope of the service contract.