Password Security: Increasing your security without losing your mind

Posted on: December 19th, 2017

Password Security: With the increase of cyber-attacks, identity theft and system hacks we can no longer ignore the importance of having a secure password.

In our modern world we have passwords everywhere. From our phones to internet banking, social media, the library, emails. The list is endless.

It’s becoming increasingly difficult to protect ourselves and remember all passwords. It’s no wonder that password, 123456, football and princess topped the list of most commonly used passwords in recent years according to SplashData.

How do you protect yourself and your company? Below we have outlined some ideas to keep you safe online and your sanity in check.

What Makes a Secure Password?

The first step in password security is to create a secure password.  Here are 5 tips to follow to increase your password security and make them safe.

Don’t use the same passwords for multiple applications. Online banking, email and social media profiles should all have different passwords. If there is a breach in one, using the same password can allow it to spread quicker.

Use a mixture of capital letters, lower case letters, symbols, and numbers. The more you mix up the characters, the higher the level of security your passwords will have. Avoid any obvious replacements such as h0me.

Ensure your passwords are at least 12 characters in length. While most applications only ask for eight characters, the longer your password the more secure it is. You will notice this as you test your passwords using the tools provided above.

Avoid a combination of common or dictionary words: Any complete word on its own such as computer or home aren’t secure and can easily be cracked.

Make it complex: Avoid simple words, place names and proper nouns. Avoid anything personal such as your dog’s name (yes, we are all guilty of this), your middle name, children’s names, etc. If you want to use a combination of words increase the security by adding capitalization, symbols, numbers and make the words random.

Use a Password Manager

The best option with so many passwords and a need to increase security is to use a password management tool. These are often free, online app based tools that will store all your passwords. Some enhanced features include providing new random secure passwords, integration with internet browsers and mobile apps and two factor authentications. Since they store all your passwords in one place, you only need to remember one password moving forward.

Some worth considering are: Dashlane, LastPass or 1Password.

Use two-factor authentication

Regardless of your password you can increase your security online by using two factor-authentication. This is a process where there are two checks in place to protect you: your password and then another element.

The second element is something that only the user would have such as a mobile phone, physical token or fingerprint. It’s the combination of the two that adds the additional layer of security. If you were hacked the hackers wouldn’t have access to the second element.

It’s becoming increasingly common with banking where a code is SMSed to your phone. Both the code and your password are required for access.

Having a secure password is your first line of defence, so make it count.


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