Seems like everywhere you go these days, you need some sort of password. There is no place that this is more true than online. In our password-driven world, these 4-20 character combinations give us access to banking, business data, credit card information, connections to friends on social media, and the ability to make online purchases. Just think of the growing list of places you use (probably on a daily basis) where you need a personal identification number: getting money from the ATM or using your debit card in a store, logging on to your computer or email, signing in to an online bank account or shopping cart and the list goes on and on. These passwords many times are the only barrier between the user and gaining ultimate access.
Unfortunately, these secret passwords are fairly easy to crack with common hacking techniques used by people trying to get to your private information. Turn on the nightly news and you will hear about the latest breach of security at large corporations and small businesses alike. The names Anthem Health Care, Target, CVS, Home Depot, Ashley Madison, and TJ Maxx are just a few that come to mind when thinking of the millions of pieces of data that were breached in 2015. And the hackers are just getting more savvy in their cyber attacks as they learn to get around encryptions and passwords. So, what can you do as a company, or even in your personal dealings to make your password more secure? Here are just a few tips to help you protect your password.
- Use different passwords at each login- Don’t make the mistake of using the same password at every secure location. Once a hacker has cracked your code they have access to all your accounts. There are some great programs out there that can help you store and keep your password secure so you can remember each one.
- Avoid common passwords- Please don’t make the common mistake of making the password the name of your: pet, birthday, anniversary, wifeâ€™s maiden name or anything else that can easily be researched through a quick Google search. And by all means do not use the word password, qwerty or asdfg.
- Get tricky with your character choice â€“ Try not to use common words that can be found in any dictionary. Use a combination of letters, numbers, signs and upper/lowercase. Special characters are always a good idea too.
- Keep your passwords secure â€“ Avoid leaving your password written down on your desk or heaven forbid on a sticky note attached to our computer. If you log in at a public location be sure to log out promptly when you are finished. There are plenty of viable, encrypted programs that can maintain your passwords safety. Online Password Managers like LastPass, KeePass, Roboform and IPassword keep multiple passwords accessible and secure with one strong password. Many of these can be accessed via mobile devices so you have your passwords with you wherever you go. If you leave a file on your computer namedÂ ‘passwords’ expect that file to be compromised if anyone ever hacks into your computer.