How to Check the Strength of Your Passwords

 

With the recent Heart Bleed Bug and current Zero-Day Vulnerability, it’s apparent more than ever online security is not as infallible as we may think.  Regarding online security, the strength of your password is essential to the security of any online account your dental practice may maintain. When your password is weak, hackers can break into your account easily, which can cause countless problems. To protect your practice, you need to make sure that the passwords you use are as strong as possible. 

 

Characteristics of Strong Passwords

Below are some characteristics of strong passwords, as determined by the IT Department at Lafayette College’s.

  • Lengthy – Passwords should be no less than 8 characters. Longer passwords are harder for hackers to break, even using sophisticated software programs.
  • Mixed case – Using a combination of uppercase and lowercase letters improves the strength of your password.
  • Mixed characters – Using a mixture of letters, numbers and special characters is recommended for maximum security.

 

Checking Password Strength

To ensure that the passwords you use to protect your accounts are as strong as they need to be, ask yourself if each password meets the requirements listed above. In addition, make sure that your passwords are not easy to guess, and try to change them at least once every six months.

In addition to examining your passwords for outward signs of weakness, you can also use some of the free tools available online to test the strength of each password you use. For example, Microsoft offers a free password checker that will rate your password as “weak,” “medium” or “strong.”

A second tool you can use to evaluate the strength of your passwords is The Password Meter, another free service available online. The Password Meter will give each password you test an overall score from 0 to 100 percent based on a number of factors, including the number of characters, the type of characters used and the order in which the characters are used. The Password Meter also includes a detailed report of your password’s scores on each individual factor measured.