A Strong Password is Your Best Security
You probably enter at least one password every day. A strong password safeguards all your data and allows you to trust the computer or device that you are using. Is your password strong enough to protect you from malicious activity?
Today, we all utilize more online accounts than ever. In act, it’s been estimated that the average email is tied to around 130 unique accounts. While this means that we can access almost anything we want within a matter of seconds, it also means that we have a myriad of usernames and passwords to keep track of. This can be a daunting task, especially when we’re expected to create and memorize dozens of different passwords that all look like this: Rk0c-7SN!B$+qS.
Sometimes it is just easier to use the same password for everything. Sure, this makes it easy to remember your password, but it also makes it easier for a hacker to unlock and gain access to your information. And if that cybercriminal does happen to gain access to one of your accounts through a reused password, he now has access to all of your accounts you use that password with. With a risk like that, you are jeopardizing all of your data and information.
Make sure you are using strong passwords by following the guidelines below.
What is a strong password?
The best way to make a strong password is to make a long-phrase, (the longer the better), mix in both upper case and lower case letters, numbers, and symbols. Most importantly, your password shouldn’t tie into your own personal information. Like if you live on 123 Main Street, making a password of 123Main, is generally a bad idea. Other bad ideas include:
- Family member names (or pet names)
- Common words spelled backwords (like drowssap)
- Avoid using repeating or sequential characters (like Qwerty or 12345)
- Never use your username as your password.
When creating your strong password, it’s a good idea to follow the golden password rules below:
- It is at least 12 characters long, even more, is better. You should never use less than 8 characters.
- It is not a common word you can find in the dictionary, (like house or bird).
- Use both lowercase and uppercase letters.
- At least one number, even more, is better.
- At least one symbol, even more, is better.
Change Your Passwords Regularly
Keep your information safe and make gaining access to your account a hard task for a hacker. Create a different password for each of your accounts and change those passwords frequently. How frequently? Every 30 to 90 days, especially on important and high-risk accounts (like your bank account or email login). By changing your password frequently, it will limit the access to your accounts if your password is stolen. For example, if you changed your password on May 1st, then there was an unknown data-breach on May 20th, your 20-day old password may then be in the hands of hackers. What usually happens from there is the hacker sells your information on the Dark Web. However, if your policy dictates that you change your password again on June 1st, whoever the buyer is of your data, may not have the chance to ever access your information.
Utilize a password manager
Now that you are creating strong passwords and changing them frequently, it can be difficult to keep track of all of them. Never write your password down on a piece of paper or keep it stored on a computer file. By doing that, you are putting yourself just as much at risk. If you lose the paper, you also lose access to your account. And if your computer has a problem or crashed, you may not be able to access it. A password manager will help keep everything organized for you and eliminate the need for you to have passwords memorized. Until you use a password manager, following all of the password golden rules, will be very difficult. Remember, you may have 130 accounts that you log into (or more), it would be difficult1 to remember 130 unique, long, and complex phrases.
Use multi-factor authentication
Multi-factor authentication is simple and effective. MFA’s make it almost impossible for someone to gain access to your accounts by requiring a fingerprint scan or sending a code to your mobile device. While multi-factor identification isn’t completely foolproof, it does provide an extra layer of security and at minimal loss of convenience. You should be using multi-factor (or two-factor) authentication wherever possible.
Don’t Store Passwords in Your Browser
Even browsers can get hacked. While browsers make it incredibly easy for you to simply save a new password and then never have to think about it again, keeping that data in the browser is generally a bad idea. If your computer, laptop, or device is stolen, your passwords are stolen, too. Not to mention, you’re also making yourself vulnerable to roommates, family members, visitors, or anyone else you may let log into your computer from time to time.
Strong and secure passwords are key to protecting your information. Stay safe in an online world by following all of the golden passwords rules next time you are creating an account or updating a password.
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Tags: Best Practices, Cybersecurity, Wi-fi. Password