3. Passwords

The most basic lock for your front door is a password. Ensure that every computer on your network requires a password before anyone from the network can read your information or write to your hard drive. If a password isn't required, there is no front door at all. If you're not sure how to ensure that passwords are necessary, I strongly recommend getting hold of a computer expert, or at least a very good manual.


Most computer systems will not password-lock someone sitting at the computer itself. There are ways to do it, but there's usually a way that someone at the computer itself (not on the network) can get in and change the passwords. This is to prevent the computer from becoming an expensive doorstop if the passwords are forgotten. This does, however, mean that you still need physical security.

Changing forgotten passwords isn't easy, however. It's better not to forget them in the first place. If your system has a 'master password' that has access to everything, make sure two people in your company or household know that password. If there's only one, what happens when that person is on vacation on that tropical island with no phones?

Passwords are only as secure as they are difficult to guess - if your password is your name, for instance, or the word 'password', it's like putting a lock on the front door and never bothering to actually lock it.

There are a lot of suggestions for how to make passwords difficult to guess - here're a few of them:

Suggestions for good passwords include

Think up other suggestions. For passwords, weird and idiosyncratic is good.