Google offers advice on secure passwords

Some tips may be basic, but Google is offering plenty of advice on keeping your online accounts safe.

It's National Cyber Security Awareness Month, and Google wants to remind you of a basic tenet of online security: passwords. Considering that October started off with a security breach that struck more than 10,000 Hotmail accounts, a security review may not be such a bad idea. Michael Santerre, Google's Consumer Operations Associate detailed Google's password advice in a recent blog post.

Some of Santerre's precautions are things you've likely heard many times before: don't use personal information like your name or birth date, and don't use simple passwords like "password" or "letmein." Instead, Santerre says you should use a unique password for every site, one that includes a mixture of numbers, letters, and symbols. This will help protect you from dictionary attacks, where a hacker uses a program that tries millions of word and letter combinations to guess your password. But keeping track of so many passwords can be tough; Santerre advises you to write your secret codes down or keep them in a computer file, just don't give your file an obvious name like 'paswords.doc.' or 'Fort Knox.txt.'

Finally, keep your password recovery options up to date so that a hacker can't take over an abandoned e-mail account. Let's say your ilovegmail@gmail.com account uses ilovehotmail@hotmail.com as the secondary e-mail address for the password recovery option. If you've forgotten about that account, a hacker could sign up for ilovehotmail@hotmail.com and end up hacking into your Gmail account. This is exactly how a French hacker gained access to Twitter's company files earlier this year.

If you're worried about your password security, here are a few more tips:

1) Use a combination where you substitute letters for numbers, words for numbers and include random capitalization. For example, 19 Peach Place becomes 0ne9peacHpl!--note the random exclamation mark at the end.

2) Create a sentence and then pull the first letter from each word, substituting numbers or even symbols were possible. Turning a sentence like, "Zachary Taylor was the twelfth president of the United States," into ZTwt12potUS.

3) Use a random password generator. You can find several online like Strong Password Generator, and others are available in PC World's Downloads Section.

4) If you've chosen your own number, letter, and symbol combination, but aren't sure how strong it is, run it through Microsoft's Password Checker.

5) So now you've got a strong password for all your important e-mail and banking accounts, but how are you going to keep track of all of these endless codes? Consider using a password manager, or just keep them on a piece of paper in the physical world--just don't attach the list to your computer.

If you want more online security than just smart passwords, check out PC World's article on "Super-safe Web Browsing."

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags securityGooglepasswords

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Ian Paul

PC World (US online)
Show Comments

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Emily Tyson

MSI GE63 Raider

If you’re looking to invest in your next work horse laptop for work or home use, you can’t go wrong with the MSI GE63.

Laura Johnston

MSI GS65 Stealth Thin

If you can afford the price tag, it is well worth the money. It out performs any other laptop I have tried for gaming, and the transportable design and incredible display also make it ideal for work.

Andrew Teoh

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

Touch screen visibility and operation was great and easy to navigate. Each menu and sub-menu was in an understandable order and category

Louise Coady

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

The printer was convenient, produced clear and vibrant images and was very easy to use

Edwina Hargreaves

WD My Cloud Home

I would recommend this device for families and small businesses who want one safe place to store all their important digital content and a way to easily share it with friends, family, business partners, or customers.

Walid Mikhael

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

It’s easy to set up, it’s compact and quiet when printing and to top if off, the print quality is excellent. This is hands down the best printer I’ve used for printing labels.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?