Top tips to keep your passwords secure
Published Wednesday, May 15, 2013 7:22AM EDT
Last Updated Wednesday, May 21, 2014 4:55PM EDT
Keeping your online accounts safe and secure is one of the most important things to do when it comes to being cyber safe.
There’s a lot to consider to keep your accounts and digital identity as secure as Fort Knox, but it all starts with having a strong password.
Make it unique
Each year, a study is released listing the most common passwords. Quite often, these are also the worst passwords. The two go together like peanut butter and jelly. Here’s why:
Hackers will often wind up with a list of logins – such as email addresses or usernames – and use a dictionary attack to crack into accounts.
This means they match up simple “real” words with the information they have on file. So if JohnDoe95’s password is password – the crack is simple.
For this reason, never use a password that’s a word you’d find in the dictionary.
But this doesn’t mean you can’t use a variation. Such as 1pA$sw0rd@3
The more special characters contained in a password, the better. It’ll be more difficult for someone to crack your code this way when you use a combination of numbers and letters.
Mix it up
Having the same tough password for your online banking, Facebook and Hotmail accounts is like having the same key to your home, car and cottage. Lose one and the risk multiplies.
Create a different password for all your major logins.
I suggest having at least one password for your online banking account, another for social networking, and a third for your webmail.
Unless you’re Jason Bourne, it’ll be tough to keep track of more passwords. But a variety of logins will prevent one password compromise from ruining your entire digital presence.
Don’t let your computer remember it
If your computer is compromised by SPAM, viruses, spyware, malware or some other form of attack, the passwords saved in your web browser - or even those in a password manager – are at risk.
Your online activities are only as safe and secure as the devices you’re using. Keep your software updated – even if you’re on a Mac. And of course, you should run online security software on all your devices.