Lee Ramos Locust ’76 is information security program leader at Synchrony Financial.

Q: My password for everything is my kid’s name plus my birthday. Is that really so bad?

A: If you’re like most people, you have most, if not all, of that information publicly available on your Facebook account. So, yes, you’ve basically just given away the keys to the kingdom.

Q: So how do I make a less crackable password?

A: I recommend having passwords that are at least 12 characters long. You might pick a phrase—“I went to the restaurant at noon and ate a one-pound hamburger”—and use the first letters or a symbol to reflect the words: [“Iw2tr@ na8a1#h”], for example.

SAQ, Fall 2016