Eight Tips for Strong Passwords
When it comes to passwords, stranger is stronger!
Creating strong passwords is more important than ever these days. Scammers, hackers, and cybercriminals have made an industry of information and identity theft. They operate in a variety of ways and the best thing you can do to avoid being a victim is to create strong, complex passwords that are virtually impossible to crack.
Follow these tips to ensure your personal information stays safe and secure.
- Use a password manager. There are many services that help you generate unique passwords for each of your accounts and offers a place to store them so you don’t have to memorize each one. In this way, if a data breach occurs in one of your accounts, hackers won’t have automatic access to your other online accounts and you don’t have to take any unnecessary risks to remember what they are, such as writing them down.
- If you choose not to use a password manager, be sure to create long passwords with a combination of letters (upper and lower case), numbers, and special characters. Hackers generally use computer programs that run through every possible combination of letters, numbers and symbols, so the longer your password, the more difficult it is to crack.
- Use a a nonsensical word or strange saying for your password. Making it up can be fun, and be sure not to use well-known phrases from literature or modern slang.
- It should go without saying, but we’ll say it anyway: Don’t use sequential numbers or letters for your passwords, such as 1,2,3,4 or a,b,c,d.
- Don’t use obvious numbers, such as birthdates or addresses for your passwords. Any information about you that is easily discovered online shouldn’t be included in your password, even if it’s your high school mascot.
- Don’t use the same password for all your accounts. If a scammer or hacker gains access to one account with your password, it only takes a few seconds for them to get into all your accounts that use that same password.
- If you’re informed of a data breach in one of your accounts, take it seriously and change your password immediately. You should also change your passwords often. The longer a password is attached to an account, the odds of a hacker finding it go up.
- Keep passwords under wraps. Don’t share any passwords with others or accidentally reveal them by logging on to your laptop, tablet, or phone when you’re in the neighborhood coffee shop. Unfortunately, spying eyes are all around, all the time.
Taking a few simple steps to protect your accounts online with strong passwords will save you from unnecessary heartache this holiday season! If you believe any of your accounts have been hacked and you’ve been a victim of a cybercrime, you can report it with the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center at https://www.ic3.gov/.