We’ve been on the Internet for how long now, and we still haven’t learned our lesson regarding our online passwords. You see it all the time, whether an organization’s data was breached or your friend’s Facebook account was hacked, our personal data and passwords are always under attack.
What’s the most simple way to protect yourself and your data? Stop using your weak @$$ passwords! Sure, many of your passwords are easy to remember, but that makes them just as easy for someone to hack.
Changing your password is absolutely FREE! And while it can be frustrating to many to try and remember and keep track of all of the passwords we must maintain in our digital lives these days, it’s essential to change your habits and begin creating strong passwords to protect yourself if you haven’t already.
Here are eight tips to start creating better passwords today:
- Size does matter
Try and make a habit out of having at least eight character passwords. The longer, the better. The shorter a password, the quicker a hacker or computer program can crack it.
- Use a combination of uppercase letters, lowercase letters, numbers, and special characters
Mix up your letters and symbols.
- Make your password a sentence or phrase you can remember
Choose something that is unique to you that no one else would know. A favorite movie character or book title perhaps? People are much better at remembering sentences and song lyrics than they are remembering random letters, numbers, and symbols.
One trick to creating a strong password is to take the first letter of every word in a long and memorable sentence and then add upper and lower case letters, numbers and a few symbols to produce your password. Are you a fan of the Beatles? Then try this: “Yesterday, all my troubles seemed so far away / Now it looks as though they’re here to stay / Oh, I believe in yesterday”, which in password form converts to “Y,amtssfa/Nilatt’h2s/O,Ibiy”. Simple enough, right?
- Avoid using personal information
Don’t include your birthday, children, addresses, pets names, or any other information someone could easily find out about you on social media. Same tip applies for answers to security questions on your accounts as well!
- Change your passwords regularly and don’t reuse passwords
The more sensitive the information, the more often you should change it. While it’s incredibly tempting to find a difficult password and then stick with it across all of your logins, if your data is breached on one site and published online, you are now compromised across all of the other sites you’re using that password on. Use a unique password for every login!
- Utilize a password manager
These are services that auto-generate or store passwords for you so you don’t have to remember of those unique, lengthy passwords you’re using across hundreds of websites. They keep your passwords encrypted and most services are free to use and sync your passwords across multiple devices.
- Double your login protection
When possible, enable multi-factor authentication (MFA) to ensure the only person that has access to your account is you. This is especially encouraged for email, banking, and social media websites.
- Keep your passwords private
You might think this would be a given but you’d be surprised… Do not share your passwords with others! Do not write them on a sticky note and place on your computer. Do not store them in a Word document on your desktop called ‘passwords.docx’.
Remember, NEVER give out your password - even when/if a company asks for it. With today’s technology, they should never be asking you for your password.
If all else fails and you only remember one thing, remember this: Passwords are like underwear. Change them regularly. Never share them with anyone. And keep them off your desk.
President/CEO, DE Web Works