Tips for choosing and protecting passwords

Most people feel that choosing a password is a hassle and consequently spend far too little time on it. However, establishing a good password regime can save you lots of time in the long run and lots of grief by preventing attacks by criminals — and it can even be fun!

How to easily create a great password

Just try to think of a password system that will help you create secure passwords that you can also remember easily. One simple example is to pick the first (or second, third, etc) letter in a sentence you invent. Then substitute some of them for symbols or add some numbers and special characters.

For instance, the sentence:

  • I really think that creating and remembering a complex password is a hassle!
  • …becomes Irttcaracpiah! when selecting the first letter of each word…
  • …which after replacing some of the letters with numbers or symbols ends up as the virtually unguessable Ir++c&racp1ah! (don’t use this password as your own!).

To make the password unique for each service you use, preventing a potential intruder from breaking into more than one account, add words or letters that are associated with each service.

Just think of a sentence and get creative — you can even use full sentences up to 64 characters if you want!

Password selection rules

In general, try to do the following when choosing a password:

  • Avoid using dictionary words and names.
  • Never use sequences of letters or numbers such as “qwerty” or “123456”.
  • Avoid familiar items that someone might guess (names, phone numbers, etc).
  • Use a combination of letters, numbers, and special characters.
  • Use 8 or more characters.

See also:

Protect your password

Once you have chosen a good password you need to protect it from possible attackers.

  • Avoid using one password for all your logins!
  • Try to choose a password you can memorize so you won’t have to write it down.
  • Never share your password with anyone.
  • Avoid logging in from public computers. If you do, then always use https://secure.runbox.com which provides encrypted transfer of all your data.
  • Check the Account page for any suspicious login attempts to your account.
  • Be careful opening email attachments from people you don’t know or trust — it might contain a computer virus, a key logger that will snatch your login information, or other malevolent programs.
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3 thoughts on “Tips for choosing and protecting passwords”

  1. Your password setting system is very, very irritating. I can’t use the tool I normally use for passwords. KeePass because your system insists that I type in the password personally. Really, with tools like KeePass, why insist that people do things your way? I don’t want to have to remember my passwords, I don’t even want to know what they are or ever see them. As long as they are in the safe and available for me to use. That’s all I care about. It used to be such a hassle for me to do passwords until KeePass. Now, people like you who insist that I type in the password myself are making it unbearable once again. I’ve tried three times now to change my password and haven’t successfully done so. And I’m not exactly computer illiterate. I suggest you let your customers, even the non-paying low usage ones such as myself choose their own method of generating and storing their passwords.
    Regards,
    Vince

  2. And one more thing I find extremely irritating about your password reset system is that there is no feedback to let you know if you have successfully changed your password. Really, I’m sure you can do better than this. I’ve now wasted over an hour trying to change my password, when it should only take seconds. Fire up KeePass, generate a new password, paste it and call it good. Do you have any idea how many different kinds of accounts people have. And you want to fore people to remember the passwords for all of their accounts? I’m sorry, I’m 63 now, and even in my prime when I had an almost photographic memory, I wouldn’t have wanted to waste the mental resources to keep track of a password for all of the different accounts that I have. I know you think Runbox is special and deserves to be treated as such. And certainly it is. But as far as I’m concerned your requirements for making a password change are a great big giant pain in the ass!
    Thank you very much!
    Vince

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