In today’s world with more and more purchases and banking taking place online, the importance of choosing online passwords that protect your information cannot be overstated. While having numerous, hard to remember passwords can be tedious and annoying, they can also keep your banking, medical, and payment information safe and sound. This is one case where an ounce of prevention is better than a pound of cure.
If you think that getting your accounts hacked only happen to someone else, think again. In September of 2016, Yahoo! had a massive data breach. In fact, over 500 million Yahoo! accounts were stolen. This theft included things such as users email addresses, names, date of birth, telephone numbers, and even security answers and questions.
You can imagine the impact this data breach could have on a user like you. If you are like many people online, you use the same passwords and security questions for more than one account. Once a hacker gets this information, it doesn’t take much to move from Yahoo! to your bank account or credit cards.
So, the question becomes, what can you do to keep yourself, your information, and your money safe online? Luckily, there are some easy steps you can take.
Choosing Online Passwords to Keep You Safe
When you want to create a password, you need to make it a strong one. That means throwing out your date of birth or your anniversary and instead, add a few symbols and characters to it. Think outside of the box.
Ironically, one of the most common passwords is the word ‘password” followed by a series of numbers such as 1234 or 12345. It will take a hacker a few minutes to hack into this account.
To keep that from happening, select a password that uses both upper and lower-case letters, numbers and symbols such as a dot, underscore, or dash. At the same time, you also want to make it something that you can remember.
Secondly, make your password at least fifteen characters long. The longer your password is, the harder it is for a hacker to crack it. If coming up with a long and strong password seems too difficult, there are password generators that can help you.
How to Keep Your Passwords Safe
Now that you have a long and strong password, you need to keep it safe. You can do that by following these suggestions:
1.) Never keep your passwords in a file on your computer unless that file is encrypted
2.) Never tell anyone your password
3.) Change your password often and at least every two to three months
4.) Never reuse a password
5.) Use a different password for every account you have online
6.) Never give your password to someone online if asked – legitimate companies never ask for it
It may seem impossible to remember and track all your passwords, but when choosing online passwords, the effort is worth it.
Consider Using a Password Manager
If you have a lot of accounts online, then you might want to consider a password manager. A password manager is a software program that will store all of your passwords for all the accounts and websites you use online. You will need to create a long and strong password for the password manager, but it is the only one you will need to remember.
A password manager works pretty easily. When you are ready to log onto a website, instead of inputting your user id and password in the allotted spaces, you put in your id and password for your password manager. Then, it will correctly fill out the information for the website.
If you are currently logged into your password manager and go to a website where you already have an account, it will go ahead and fill in the correct information automatically. If you do not have an account on the particular website, it will ask you if you would like it to generate a new id and password for you. There are both free and pay-to-use password managers on the market.
When it comes to choosing online passwords, the difference between a good password and a bad one is the difference between a good night’s sleep and a sleepless night worrying about whether or not your information and money are safe. Do the extra work up front and get the peace of mind you deserve.
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