What Makes a Good Password?

Choosing a good password is one of the first steps in protecting yourself online. Consider the following tips when creating a good password:

Private: it is used and known by one person only;
Secret: it does not appear in clear text in any file or program or on a piece of paper;
Easily remembered: so there is no need to write it down;
At least 8 characters long: the longer the password the tougher it is to guess or crack;
A mixture: of at least 3 of the following: upper case letters, lower case letters, digits and symbols;
Not listed in a dictionary: this includes any major language;

Here are some hints to help you choose good passwords:
• Use a long passphrase like the sentence “My dog is brown and white!” or “It’s 5 o’clock somewhere!” Passphrases are easy to remember, therefore don’t need to be written down and are difficult for someone else to guess. And because they are grammatically correct they are very easy and quick to type.
• Substitute numbers or symbols for letters in a password, for example: Pa$$w0rd. This makes dictionary attacks more difficult.

Here are some guidelines to avoid a guessable password:
Don’t use your login name in any form (as-is, reversed, capitalized, doubled, etc…)
Don’t use in any form your first or last name and more generally any information easily obtained about you. This includes address, phone number, names of close relatives, etc…
Don’t use a word contained in any dictionary, spelling list or other lists of words (acronyms, sequences of letters like ‘abcdef’, place names, car names, cartoon heroes, etc…)

These tips are provided by Iowa State Bank in partnership with10-D Security. If you have specific questions, contact your local banker at Iowa State Bank. Iowa State Bank is an Equal Opportunity Lender. Member FDIC.

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