Take a moment to think of every account you need a password to access. You'd have to add up all the apps on your phone, think of every online profile you've created, remember pins and bank account passwords. Today, passwords have become so commonplace that it's easy to take their purpose for granted. However, keeping passwords secure prevents hacking and is essential to digital and financial security.
Passwords and password hacking
Most online and digital profiles these days rely on a username and password combination to verify user identity. To ensure these profiles remain safe and confidential, well-crafted passwords are essential.
The rising prevalence of password hacking to enter confidential or financial online accounts, in particular, has made password security extremely important. Weak or common passwords make access to digital profiles easy for hackers, who use sophisticated programs to uncover passwords and hack accounts.
Creating a strong password
In order to create a password that lessens the likelihood of being guessed or hacked, consider the following:
- Common words make poor password choices on their own. Try using special characters (@, #, $, &, etc.) in place of letters or numbers.
- Use a minimum of eight characters in your password with a combination of lowercase letters, capital letters, numbers and special characters.
- Unusual combinations work best. One option is to make an acronym using the first letter of each word in your favorite song lyric.
- For maximum protection, you can simply type random letters on a keyboard. Because this will be very difficult to remember, see below for some ideas on how you can store your password securely.
- Have different passwords for different devices, applications, online accounts and systems.
- Don’t use personal information in your password that can be easily accessed or guessed (such as birthdays or pets’ names).
- Change your password regularly. When you do change the password, try not to repeat the same set of words, such as password1, password2.
- Replace the weak or duplicate passwords with stronger, unique passwords.
It can take some time to collect all of the necessary income information, so be sure to give yourself plenty of time.
Secure password storage
With so many passwords and login combinations, many users have difficulty remembering their passwords. We recommend the following to help you keep track:
- Do not write passwords down on slips of paper or in a notebook. These items are easily lost or stolen. If you do need to write down your passwords, don't include the account user name with them.
- Save your password in a text file, then save the file on a password-protected, encrypted USB drive.
- Consider a password management program. Many offer high-quality password management features. For instance, you can use the software to generate and store secure passwords on your behalf.
- Learn about cookies. A cookie is a personalized bit of data that internet browsers use to identify returning users to a site. If your browser remembers you, you can more easily gain access to your digital profiles each time you go to a frequently visited site. That way, you don't have to re-enter your info every time.
- Likewise, most browsers allow users to save your login information within the browser. This saves you from needing to frequently re-enter your password. Be aware, this information can be lost if you delete your cookies. As a result, you should not rely solely on internet browsers for password tracking.
Passwords can never be completely safe from discovery. However, by following the steps listed above, you can drastically reduce the likelihood of having your password uncovered.