How To Create Safer Passwords
A strong password is key to protecting yourself online.
People are doing most everyday tasks—from paying bills to tracking their retirement—online these days. Many activities require password-protected accounts. If an account is compromised, it can put your personal and financial information at risk. Help safeguard against hackers by using secure passwords.
Test the strength of your current passwords. If a password isn’t up to par, create a new one that has at least eight characters and a mix of symbols, numbers and capitalization. Also keep these pointers in mind:
- Use a different password for each online account.
- Avoid using names of family members or pets.
- Refrain from using a variation of your computer’s login ID.
- Try to omit any personal information that’s easy to find online.
- Avoid using words in the dictionary.
- Select a password that can’t be easily spotted. Some hackers can crack passwords simply by watching keystrokes.
The more thought you put into a password, the harder it should be to crack. Try this: Use the first letter of every word in a memorable sentence, but add symbols, capitalization and numbers. For example, “My teacher’s name in 2000 was Mrs. Cooke,” might translate to “mtn!Y2KwMC.”
Storing and Securing Passwords
Remembering your passwords can be difficult if you have many online accounts. Rather than use one password for all your computer activities, try using a password manager software program to keep track of your different login information. Just be sure to do your research and choose a reputable, secure company.
Additional ways to protect your online accounts:
- Never share your password with others.
- Know the signs of phishing scams.
- Change your passwords every 30 to 90 days.
- Never write down your password—use password hints instead.
- Use multifactor authentication when available. This security feature requires you to have more than your username and password to access an account. Often this extra information is a number sent to your phone when you attempt to log in.