Passwords, love them or hate them (though we imagine it’s most likely the latter), they’ve become a part of our daily business lives. It seems there’s not a single thing that doesn’t require one, and for some, that can mean hundreds of accounts.
Passwords are generally challenging for just about everyone, whether we can’t remember them, can’t come up with new ones, or have so many its hard to keep track. However, they don’t have to be.
Keeping all of your accounts safe and secure can be much easier than you think.
Let’s start with what not to do.
- Personal Information – Birthdate, children’s names, hometown – these are all things that can easily be looked up. Sure, using personal information is an easy way to remember it, but problematic nonetheless.
- Common words and phrases – Yes, we wouldn’t be doing our due diligence if we didn’t mention words such as “password” and “pass” and number combinations such as “1234” are possibly the laziest and the worst authenticators possible. Using these is like asking for a breach to happen.
- Reuse Passwords – Unless having your identity stolen is a goal, reusing passwords is highly unsuggestable. If one of your accounts is hacked using your email and password, the cybercriminal then has the credentials to access every one of your accounts. So if your Facebook account is hacked, don’t be surprised when your bank account is also.
- Use Random letters, Numbers, and Symbols – Most services that require a password also require the use of at least one capital letter, a number, and a symbol. Many will integrate them into average words, such as “Ch3m!stry.” Unfortunately, hackers are catching onto this trend and are making quick work of passwords like this. Also, consider the number of characters in your password. Although some services only suggest using eight characters, between 12-16 is much more ideal. Amazingly, adding just one more character can increase its security exponentially.
- Two-Factor (or Multi-Factor) Authentication – One of the best ways to protect your accounts is to add another layer of protection. A great example of this is using security questions to verify your identity. Of course, remember that personal information can be easily searched, so make sure the answers are something only you would know. Another example of two-factor authentication is Google’s 2FA. After logging into your Gmail account from a new device, a message is sent to your mobile app to verify that it’s you who is requesting access.
- Last, but certainly not least, is utilizing a password manager. There are plenty of applications, such as eWallet, LastPass, and 1Password that can keep all your login credentials in one place so there can be as much variation to each authentication as possible. Ironically, these managers are opened with a password… but at least there is only one password you need to remember! Of course, be careful when creating this code.
They may cause a lot of frustration, but passwords serve a valuable purpose; to protect sensitive data and information. And while the day is approaching where passwords may be a thing of the past, for now, we’ll just have to trudge on. Trust us, taking those few extra steps to secure your password is well worth the effort.