The first line of defense against identity theft is passwords. Unfortunately, many of us fail to remember to use them. Almost 60% of baby boomers don't use secure passwords. And, according to a report by Norton, digital natives are more prone to having their accounts compromised.
Although passwords are very secure, they can still get easily breached by hackers. Just as a burglar can easily enter a locked door, a hacker can easily get past them. Protecting your password and information isn't that difficult. Below are some of the top ways to strengthen your online security.
1. Be Random When Generating Passwords
Long passwords are generally better than short ones, especially if they include random information in them. Avoid characters that are preceded with a letter or are sequentially typed. An example of this to avoid is "qwerty."
2. Make Passwords Long
There are several ways that hackers can get into your accounts. They can start by guessing your passwords by manually typing in letters, numbers, and symbols. They can also use a more advanced technique known as a brute force attack. This technique works by running through multiple passwords in a fast fashion to crack them.
Most of the time, it takes less than a second to crack a three-digit long password. The longer your password is, the more difficult it will be for hackers to figure out
3. Include A Variety of Characters
When creating your passwords, mix the letters with random numbers and symbols. It is also a good idea to add a variety of upper and lowercase letters into the mix. If your password is a phrase, consider capitalizing the first letter of the words to help you remember them easier.
4. Don't Include Identifying Information
Not including certain personal details in your passwords makes them harder to guess. For instance, if you have your birthday or home address added to your password, these details could be found by hackers and used to guess your passwords easier. Avoid including any information about your life that can be obvious and found easily by anyone browsing through your online social media accounts.
5. Don't Reuse Passwords
When hackers steal email addresses and passwords from popular servers, these details can be easily leaked online. Remember to use unique passwords for all your accounts. It can be more difficult to remember multiple passwords, but having different logins for each website will keep your accounts safer.
6. Use A Password Manager
If you have a lot of online accounts to remember passwords for, it can be difficult to keep track of them. A password manager is a service that automatically generates and stores strong passwords for you. It works seamlessly by storing these passwords in a centralized location and letting you change them at a moment's notice.
7. Never Share Your Passwords
Never give away your passwords to anyone. Also, never type them into a device that's near you if you're not sure if other people can see your screen. Avoid printing them on a sticky note or writing them on anything that could be seen by someone who shouldn't see it. If you are storing your password list on your phone or computer, store it with a random document name that doesn't easily give away its contents.
Even if you make strong passwords, hackers can still break them if you give them enough time. Regularly change your passwords to make them harder to hack.