Passwords: Security is More Important Than Ever

Posted on May 15, 2018

It’s an unfortunate reality that security breaches at all organizations, including churches, have become more common.  And while it may be easier to simply hold on to your existing passwords, we strongly encourage you to fight the urge. There is great reward and additional security in formulating a strong password.

Here are four tips that should help you get started:

  1. Avoid common passwords. Commonly used passwords include, ‘123456’, ‘password’, ‘111111’, ‘abc123’ and ‘123123’. In fact, the 100 most commonly passwords make up over 60% of all passwords.  Cybercriminals are looking for easy passwords like those, so using one that’s more complex will reduce your risk.
  2. When creating passwords, resist the urge to use information that could easily be found by searching your Facebook or social media account. For example, the name of a child or pet. If you use those in your password, combine it with special characters (# or ! for example) along with numbers to make it tougher.
  3. Take the extra time to create a strong password. Strength of a password is measured by a combination of its length and complexity (mixing in numbers, letters, capitals, symbols, etc.). Passwords should be at least 8 characters in length but 12 characters or more is even better.
  4. Get creative when arriving at passwords. Think of strong and fun, easy-to-remember combinations and phrases. For example, let’s say you like to read. If you used a password like “bookworm”, it wouldn’t pass any of the tips I listed above.  But, what if we got creative and established a password like “Book!Worm092” or “BooK!WorM040LifE” we can create a password that is strong, easy to remember AND fun!

Here are four tips to help keep your passwords secure:

  1. Don’t share your passwords with others. A good rule of thumb may be to treat your password like your house key.  It’s probably best not to share your house key with all your neighbors and friends at school and work.
  2. Never text, email or post your passwords online. Any time you share your passwords in this fashion you are essentially allowing full public access to your account information. Using the example above, it would be similar to leaving your front door wide open when you leave home or go on vacation.
  3. Change your passwords regularly. The hard truth is that no password is truly secure. So change when approximately every 90 days or sooner.
  4. Use different passwords for different sites and activities. Using the same password is easy, but it leaves you more vulnerable to having your account compromised.

So in summary, when you create your next password, use a creative combination of numbers, capital and lowercase letters, and symbols that would be at least 8 but ideally 12 characters long, and would be most likely known only to you.  If your current passwords don’t match these recommendations, we recommend that you change them to protect your accounts from cyber threats.

While having a strong password is important, so is having secure software. To learn more the security of our web-based ParishSOFT software, please call our sales department at 866-930-4774 x7 or email parishsoftsales@parishsoft.com.

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