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October is Cybersecurity Awareness Month, which is a timely reminder to review your passwords you use for work access. Weak passwords make it quick and easy for hackers to commit wide-scale company data breaches. Keep your data safe with these tips for creating strong passwords for work:

1. Make it Longer Than Eight Characters

The shorter the password, the more vulnerable it is because it’s less guesswork for hackers. Make your work passwords at least eight characters but the longer, the better. 

2. Avoid Identifying Information

One of the common vulnerabilities hackers look for in passwords is identifying information. Avoid passwords that include publicly accessible information such as numbers that are your birthdate or house address or words that are your kids’ names.

3. Opt for a Variety of Character Types

Strengthen your password by opting for a variety of character types. Combine upper and lower case letters, numbers, and symbols for maximum protection.

4. Swap Out Letters for Numbers or Symbols

For a strong password that is still easy for you to remember, swap out some of the letters in your preferred password for numbers or symbols. For example, replace the “a” with “3” or “@. “

5. Do Not Use Related Words 

Commonly connected words and phrases from pop culture can make it easier for hackers to guess. Do not use related words, like movie titles or song lyrics, that are well known. Pick completely random words to string together instead. 

6. Randomize the Sequence

The weakest passwords are those that use common sequential orders for letters and numbers (i.e., “ABC” or “123”) as well as keyboard layout paths (“qwerty”). Randomize the sequence of any numbers and letters in your password to make it more difficult to crack.

7. Create a Story 

Coming up with passwords that are random enough to be protected against hackers can be challenging. Make it easier to create strong passwords by creating a story by making your password a person, action, object (i.e., Jack tripped on a log to remember J@kT!p0aL).

8. Alter, But Don’t Recycle Passwords

Reusing the exact same password for different accounts is risky, but it can be difficult to keep coming up with and remembering ones for each account. Instead, alter but don’t recycle your passwords. Use the same base concept, but add a small variation. 

9. Verify the Strength

When you’re changing your work account passwords to be stronger, verify the strength of the possibilities before committing. There are free online tools that will check your password and let you know if it’s sufficiently strong. 

10. Use a Password Generator

If you are just out of ideas or don’t want to take a chance on having a weak password for your work account, use a password generator. This will make you feel more confident that your password is as secure as possible. 

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