Are you using the same password for all of your online accounts? If so, you’re putting yourself at risk for identity theft or worse. A recent study found that 81% of people use the same password for most (if not all) of their online accounts. That means if someone gets their hands on your login information for one site, they can easily access all your other accounts. It is important to have different passwords for each of your online accounts, but should be strong and secure.
Some Important Tips to Make Password Secure
Fortunately, there are steps you can take to ensure the passwords you are using are the best they can be.
1) Use A Password Manager
As mentioned above, a password manager can be a great way to keep track of all your different passwords. But a password manager can also help you create strong and secure passwords in the first place.
Most password managers will have a built-in password generator that can create random and complex passwords for you. This takes the guesswork out of creating a strong password, and it means you don’t have to worry about forgetting any of your passwords.
Some features offered by the PassCamp password manager also include the ability to securely share passwords with others. You have to set up two-factor authentication for added security. This adds an extra layer of protection to your online accounts, as even if a hacker manages to get your password. They won’t be able to log in unless they also have access to your second factor, which could be a code sent to your phone or email.
2) Avoid Using Dictionary Words
Using dictionary words as passwords is a major security vulnerability that can easily be exploited.
Dictionary words are easy to guess, and because they are so commonly using and also easy to hack. A hacker can use a program to run through all the possible combinations of letters and numbers until they find the right one. So instead of using a word like “password” or “apple”, try something more unique that is less likely to be guessed.
For instance, even if you use a word like “giraffe”, you can make it more secure by adding numbers or special characters. And while it may be easier to use your pet’s name as a password, that is also not recommended. It can easily guessed by someone who knows you well.
3) Don’t Use Personal Information
Another mistake people make when creating passwords is using personal information like their birthdate, address, or as already mentioned, the names of their pets. This may seem like an innocuous way to create a password that you will easily remember, but it is also very dangerous. This type of information can be easily found on social media sites or through a simple Google search. So if a hacker knows a little bit about you, they can probably figure out your password.
Not only will this make it easier for someone to hack into your account. But it can also make you a target for identity theft. So instead of using personal information, try to come up with a random combination of letters and numbers that will be difficult to guess.
4) Always Use Mix of Upper and Lower Case Letters with Special Characters
When creating a password, it is important to use a mix of upper and lower case letters, as well as special characters. This will make your password more difficult to guess and will also make it more difficult for a hacker to crack.
One way to remember to do this is to think of a phrase or saying that you can easily remember. Then use the first letter of each word in that phrase as your password.
For instance, the phrase “The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog” could become “Tqbfjotld”. You can then add numbers or special characters to that to make it even more secure. Just be sure not to use anything that could be easily guessed, like your birthdate or address.
5) Don’t Reuse Passwords
As mentioned above, using the same password for all of your online accounts is a major security risk. If a hacker gets their hands on your login information for one site, they can easily access all your other accounts. So it is important to have different passwords for each of your online accounts.
One way to keep track of all your different passwords is to use a password manager. This is a software program that will store all your passwords in a secure location. All you need to remember is the master password for the manager, and the software will take care of the rest. There are many different password managers available, and some are even free.
6) Change Your Passwords Regularly
Even if you follow all the tips above, it is still a good idea to change your passwords regularly. This will help to ensure that even if a hacker does manage to get your password, they won’t be able to use it for long.
How often you should change your password depends on how often you use the account and how sensitive the information is that is being accessed. For example, you may want to change your password more frequently for online banking than you would for a social media site. However, a good rule of thumb is to change your passwords at least every few months.
7) Don’t Write Your Passwords Down
Even if you have the best memory in the world, it is still not a good idea to write your passwords down. This is because if someone finds your password list, they will have access to all your accounts. So instead of writing your passwords down, try to commit them to memory. If you worried about forgetting them, you can always use a password manager as mentioned above.
Additionally, avoid storing your passwords in a file on your computer or phone. If your device is lost or stolen, then whoever has it will also have access to all your accounts. Even if you do store your passwords on your device, be sure to encrypt the file so that it can’t be easily accessed.
While there is no guaranteed way to prevent your passwords from being hacked, by following the tips above you can greatly reduce the risk. So be sure to implement these tips next time you create a new password. Even if it takes a little bit longer to come up with a secure password, it will be worth it in the long run.