In today’s digital age, having strong passwords is essential. More and more people (and companies) are getting their online accounts hacked every day.
Though it’s impossible to eliminate the risk of getting hacked, strong passwords will go a long way to reduce the risk. So here’s how to keep your account information secure:
1. Avoid common password phrases
The first step to a strong password is to avoid obvious phrases. For example, many people like to use phrases like 123456, abcdef, password, qwerty, and so on because they are easy to remember. But common password phrases like these are also easier to guess and therefore easier to hack. Don’t use them!
You should also avoid using personal references like your name, birthday, hometown, address, anniversary, high school, pet name, and so on.
Why? Anyone who knows you or can get some of your personal information will have a better shot at guessing your password. So don’t use anything obvious or common in your password phrase.
2. Make your password long and complicated
Now that you know what not to use as your password, what should you use? Ideally, your password should be long and complicated. This will make it harder to crack.
To do this, make sure your password is at least eight characters long and contains a good variety of letters, numbers, and symbols. Try swapping letters for symbols and vice versa. For example, you could use the “@” symbol instead of the letter “a.”
One good approach is to use a random word generator to create a nonsense phrase. You can also use a secure random password generator. Whatever you do, always change the password from the default password you may have been given when opening the account.
3. Never recycle old passwords
Never use the same password twice or even the same password for multiple accounts. Doing so only increases the chances of your password getting hacked.
You also don’t want to use one root password that you modify for different accounts. Use unique passwords for everything. That way, if a hacker gains access to one account, they won’t automatically have access to others.
Can’t remember more than one password? Use a password manager to track them for you, which brings us to our next point.
4. Use a password manager
A password manager like PSONO, LastPass, 1Password, or Bitwarden can help you put all your passwords in one place for safekeeping.
This way, you don’t need to remember different passwords on your own. All you need to remember is one master password.
Some password managers are free, and most are easy to set up. Compare different password manager platforms to see which best suits your needs. Some even help you generate new random passwords.
5. Always use multi-factor authentication (MFA)
To add an extra layer of security to your passwords, adopt multi-factor authentication (MFA) methods. Sometimes known as two-factor authentication (2FA), MFA requires you to input a second piece of information after your username and password to log in. This could be a code sent to your phone or an authentication app (like Authy, Google Authenticator, or Microsoft Authenticator), or it could be a piece of biometric information like a fingerprint, eye scan, or voice detection. Choose a method that is convenient and secure at the same time.
6. Check to make sure your passwords haven’t been compromised
Lastly, it’s important to regularly ensure your passwords haven’t been compromised. Use tools like Mozilla’s Firefox Monitor or Google’s Password Checkup to make sure your passwords haven’t been stolen. If they have, change them, and never use previously stolen passwords.
The bottom line
Nobody wants to get their password hacked, especially now that we keep so much sensitive personal information online. To avoid becoming a victim of identity theft, follow the above password guidelines. Your accounts will be 100 times safer as a result.