• 12/18/2012

IT Security:

What makes a good password?

The use of computers and IT services harbors certain risks. There are a few tricks to help you to steer clear of security pitfalls, however. Reliable log-in data and passwords are of particular importance.

Computer in chains
Reliable log-in data and passwords are of particular importance. (Photo: Shutterstock)

Tips for safe passwords:

  • Your password should never be the same as your ID.
  • It should not contain your first or last name or any other personal data such as your birth date, nickname, or your car’s registration number.
  • It should not be too short, at least 8 characters long, as a rule.
  • Make sure to use uppercase and lowercase letters and special characters or numbers.
  • Avoid words that can be found in dictionaries. The password should still be simple enough for you to remember it.
  • One suitable method is to form easy-to-remember phrases and then use the first letters to form a password. Example: MfiiL124 = "My flat is in Lilienstrasse 124"
  • Another option would be to translate a word or phrase into a different language and then combine German and English abbreviations with special characters. schw2:sis = "I have two sisters (Schwestern), for example."

Advice on safe storage:

  • Never pass on your log-in data to anybody else.
  • Memorize your passwords – your brain is the only place where they are safe.
  • If you do have to make a note of your passwords, don’t save them on a computer that is accessible via the internet and don’t note them down together with the relevant IDs. Try to encrypt your passwords using a code method only you yourself can understand.

You can find more information on computing safety on the homepage of the Leibniz-Rechenzentrum.

Technical University of Munich

Corporate Communications Center

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