Passwords are often a headache for computer users as more and more accounts and services are added to your computer experience you have more and more passwords to keep track of. However hard this may be passwords are essential to the security of your services. The 'Map' below gives you a idea of the extent of different password access through typical systems encountered by most computer users.

I use and propose a layered approach to your passwords starting with the following options:

  • 1. Password for accounts or services of little or no security importance, i.e. My classroom computers all have the same simple password to login to Windows.
  • 2. A strong common password for accounts and services that do not have any monitory or privacy issues, i.e. WEB sites that require some sort of account to access content.
  • 3. A very strong password for email and storage accounts
  • 4. A very very strong password for purchasing accounts and wifi networks.
  • 5. A very very very strong password for banking and similar accounts.

So what constitutes a strong password? It is recommended that a password containing a mixture of upper, lower case text and numbers and not made up of dictionary words or dates, is a way of making sure the password is secure. Length of password can also help, a 8 character password is easier to crack than a 10 character password.

There are programs, USB devices and Operating Systems that help manage your passwords. These can be most helpful on your own computer but can be a weakness when using someone else's computer, i.e. Using these systems to save a password on someone else's computer will give other users access to your account. Always say NO to saving passwords on non personal computers and make sure you log out of any accounts and services.