How to Keep Your Passwords Safe and Secure

June 22, 2017
PRIVACY AND FREEDOM

With our increasing reliance on technology comes an increasing risk for security breaches. We’ve all seen the news about large corporations and banks whose systems have been compromised and, while our personal information can be accessed through such hacks, cyber spies are also attacking personal accounts. Even if you have a private email service, password safety is crucial.

According to CNNMoney, nearly half of all Americans had their personal information exposed by hackers in 2014. And, in a study by Entrepreneur, about 40 percent of all people surveyed reported a “security incident” involving their personal accounts.

So, how do we protect ourselves? Passwords are meant to be the first line of defense against such intrusions; from email to online-shopping accounts and bank portals, our passwords are meant to protect our vital information and safeguard us against serious crimes like identity theft.

Here are a few tips to beef up your password potential.

DON’T

  • Use the same password for all of your accounts. You may be tempted to keep a standard password so it’s easy to remember, but the more common it is, the more risk there is for it being compromised.
  • Use information that could be easily guessed. Leave out your name, address, birthday, family info and other easily identifiable details. If you could find that information on yourself through a simple Google search or a flip through the phone book, don’t incorporate it into your password, as hackers can also find it.
  • Keep a list of passwords. You may want to store your passwords on your computer desktop, in your phone or even on a sticky note by your computer; if anyone else can access that data, either in person or virtually, don’t. Opt instead for a secure location like a safety deposit box.

DO

  • Change your password frequently. Most security experts recommend changing your password at least once every six months. The longer a password stays stale, the more susceptible it can be to compromise.
  • Be creative. Use a combination of upper-case and lower-case letters, numbers, and special characters. The more unique, the more secure.
  • Protect yourself in other ways. Install anti-virus software, which adds an added wall of protection.

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