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Spring cleaning #1: Change your passwords now, due to Heartbleed

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Culture & Entertainment

Spring cleaning #1: Change your passwords now, due to Heartbleed

Hopefully you have not missed all the media coverage of the Heartbleed security breach that has impacted on the security of many popular websites, as well as not-so-popular-but-important ones like the Canada Revenue Agency website. But have you sat down to change all your passwords? Picture of password policy This month we're encouraging you to do some spring cleaning in all areas of your life, and Heartbleed inspired us to begin with a little electronic security clean up. Here's what you should know about good password hygiene before you start: 1) Don't use the same password (or simple variations) on multiple sites Yes, this is a pain, but you really don't want someone who manages to get one of your passwords to get access to all your accounts. This is particularly important for your email, since that's where a lot of "lost password" facilities will send new passwords. 2) Use long passwords Passwords longer than 14 characters are harder to crack. 3) Mix up characters, numbers, capital letters and symbols You've probably noticed, as sites demand better passwords, passwords with capital letters, symbols and numbers are stronger. While it's a pain to come up with passwords that include those characters, it's worth it in security. 4) Use sentences to help you generate nonsense passwords If you're already starting to feel like you'll never remember all your new passwords, here's a tip: Take a favourite quote or a sentence and use that as part of the cornerstone of your password. For example: "It was the best of times, it was the worst of times" could become: IWTBOTIWTWOT - now substitute "@" for "it" and the number 0 for 0: @WTB0T@WTW0T -- now only capitalize "the" and you have a @wTb0t@wTw0t. Next add a year and you're over 14 characters: @wTb0t@wTw0t2014 (This is not my password anywhere!) And of course, 5) Change your passwords regularly. Make sure you're doing social media right: Check your netiquette. (Photo by Lulu Hoeller via Flickr)
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Spring cleaning #1: Change your passwords now, due to Heartbleed

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