A strong password is possibly your greatest precaution to keeping your information safe. It is the first line of defense against hackers, who have become increasingly good at decoding passwords and compromising your accounts. Following are six tips to help you create strong passwords.
- Make your password longer than the minimum required length — 12 characters or more is recommended. Most often, hackers will try combinations with the minimum amount of characters.
- Use a mix of characters, including letters, numbers and symbols and add symbols and numbers in your words or between words. Example: F@rmcr3d!teA$t
- Avoid personal information and common words (i.e. don’t use “password” as your password, or your birth date or sequential keyboard letters, like “qwerty”).
- Use a random sentence, abbreviating and capitalizing certain letters. Example: “Take me to the beach” turns into Take-Me2The_Beach!
- Use multiple word phrases that wouldn’t normally go together such as BlanketCheetahLaundryRed
- Use a random password generator to create long, complicated passwords.
Now that you’ve created your secure passwords, how do you remember them?
A secure password manager, such as LastPass, maintains all your usernames and passwords in one place that can be accessed using a master password. If you decide to write your passwords down, make sure they aren’t on your desk or in plain sight.
Another recommendation is to always use multi-factor authentication. After entering your username and password to sign in to a website or app, multi-factor authentication will then prompt for an additional sign-in method, such as a fingerprint, face ID or send a text to your phone with a code to confirm your identity.
Lastly, if you believe you’ve been hacked or your password has been compromised, change it immediately.
For more information on common scams and how to protect your information, read this previous blog article: Stay vigilant! Protect yourself from heightened scams. For additional tips on how to keep you information secure, view this blog post: 8 Tips to Keep Your Information Secure