Security Tip (ST04-003)
Good Security Habits
Original release date: June 02, 2009 | Last revised: November 14, 2019
There are some simple habits you can adopt that, if performed consistently, may dramatically reduce the chances that the information on your computer will be lost or corrupted
How can I minimize the access others have to my information?
It may be easy to identify people who could gain physical access to your devices—family members, roommates, coworkers, people nearby, and others. Identifying the people who have the capability to gain remote access to your devices is not as simple—as long as your device is connected to the internet, you are at risk for someone accessing your information. However, you can significantly reduce your risk by developing habits that make it more difficult.
- Improve password security. Passwords are one of the most vulnerable cyber defenses. Improve your password security by doing the following
- Create a strong password. Use a strong password that is unique for each device or account. Longer passwords are more secure. An option to help you create a long password is using a passphrase—four or more random words grouped together and used as a password. To create strong passwords, the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) suggests using simple, long, and memorable passwords or passphrases. (See Choosing and Protecting Passwords.)
- Consider using a password manager. Password manager applications manage different accounts and passwords while having added benefits, including identifying weak or repeated passwords. There are many different options, so start by looking for an application that has a large install base (e.g., 1 million plus) and an overall positive review. Properly using one of these password managers may help improve your overall password security.
- Use multi-factor authentication, if available. Multi-factor authentication (MFA) is a more secure method of authorizing access. It requires two out of the following three types of credentials: something you know (e.g., a password or personal identification number