Five Ways to Practice Safe Passwording
Our lives are so full of passwords and login credentials, it’s easy to want to use the same combination for every site and online account so you have less to remember.
But your login/password combination is the only layer of protection between the outside world and your secure information, and there are many hackers out there who would love to get their hands on it. Think of the possibilities – someone could access your online banking, credit card accounts, online shopping accounts, as well as have the information to steal your identity.
While there is no absolutely secure password or method to keep the hackers out (as evidenced by the security breaches at large corporations we hear about on the news), there are ways to make stealing your information more challenging.
- Avoid using personal information in your password, such as your birthdate, your social security number, or your mother’s maiden name.
- Don’t use actual words as part of your password to decrease the chances of someone guessing it. The second most popular stolen password of last year was actually “password.” (The most popular was “123456.”)
- Use a password manager along with multifactor authentication tools to help create secure passwords and manage their access. A little Internet research on “password managers” can help you find the one with the right features for your needs.
- Avoid password reset questions that anyone could answer by researching you or your family. Social media and genealogy sites are rich with information on names, birthdates, and locations of family events.
- Protect your mobile devices with a password or passcode and set them to lock within a minute of being idle. Just think of the gold mine of information someone could access if you inadvertently left your unsecured phone or tablet at the coffee shop.