Passwords protect our lives. We use internet passwords to protect all of our most valuable information. But in this digital age, when cyber criminals are seeking to gain access to our most sensitive data, it’s important that we not make their job easy by relying on inefficient passwords. A strong password is your first line of defense against hackers who are attempting to steal your identity.
When you stop to think about all of the information you have on the internet, and how much of it is password protected, it can be a frightening realization. Your personal and business email accounts, banking information, social media accounts, business website, ecommerce, and subscription services all require passwords. Now, imagine the horror you’d feel if some hacker a world away suddenly had access to all of that.
Luckily, you can avoid this nightmare by implementing some of the following strategies in your password creation process.
1. Don’t Re-Use Passwords
This seems like a common-sense issue, but so many people are guilty of it. Having only one password for every account is a serious security risk. When you look at all of the various accounts we listed above, that’s essentially a person’s entire online life. If a hacker figures out the password for just one of those accounts and you’ve used it for every single account that you have, then with one hack a cyber criminal has the ability to steal your entire identity.
Keep your passwords constantly changing from account to account. Ensure that they’re easy for you to remember, but not easy for a hacker to guess. Re-using your password is akin to providing a hacker with a master key that opens your entire online life to their ill intentions.
2. Use Capital Letters, Numbers, and Special Symbols
A strong password utilizes capital letters, numbers, and special symbols such as #,$,%,&,@. By creating a seemingly random assortment of letters, numbers, and symbols you make your password extremely difficult to guess. Most websites require at least one capital letter and a number to be used, but special symbols are an extra twist that make a password truly bulletproof.
Consider using numbers and symbols as replacements for letters, rather than just tacking them on at the end. A 3 can easily be interchangeable with an E. The $ symbol can replace an S. The @ symbol is a wonderful stand in for the letter A.
So, if you’re creating a password that is “RedShoeHeel” you might consider “R3d$hoeHe3l” instead. If a hacker knows that you like the color red and high heeled shoes, they might guess that first option. But throwing in a seemingly random assortment of numbers and symbols makes your password nearly impossible to crack.
3. Don’t Use Personal Information
Personal information like a name, address, or phone number should never be a part of a password. They’re too easy to guess, especially if the offending hacker is someone who personally knows you. If you’re name is John and you like at 35 Blake Avenue, don’t make your password “John35Blake.” You’re asking for trouble with such an easily guessable password.
Other terms to avoid would be the name of a spouse, child, pet, a favorite movie, or any other defining information that someone would instantly associate with you. Keep your passwords random, something that only you would think of.
4. Don’t Use “Dictionary Words”
If a word is in the dictionary, there’s a chance that cyber criminals will guess it. Many hackers utilize advanced software that enters dictionary words in an attempt to discern your passwords. This is where special characters and numbers come in especially handy. You’re not using dictionary words, you’re creating your own take on classic words with personalized replacements.
5. Use a Pass Phrase Instead of a Password
The more characters you use, the stronger your password protection will be. To that end, instead of using a pass “word,” why not try a whole phrase? Best practices state that your password is safest when it’s at least 12 characters long. But a pass phrase should be a series of words, randomly put together, and can extend upwards of 20 characters.
If you think something like “B0okWorm$250” might not be strong enough, try something like “B0okCh3rry&Fl@tMo0N$.” This random assortment of words makes for a stellar pass phrase that would be utterly impossible to guess.
Keep Your Information Safe
By adhering to these five simple edicts you can create a strong and secure password which will defend your most sensitive personal information from cyber criminals the world over. At Secure CyberID, we care about the protection of your identity. Contact us today to learn more about how we can bring increased security to your digital life.