Hackers and Internet sleuths are becoming more adept at hacking online accounts. Most of this is due to individuals using inferior passwords that are simply too easy to replicate. Most websites, email service providers, and other online companies that require you to create a login password now offer prompts to help assist you in boosting the security strength of your password. These prompts may force you to use a series of letters, numbers, and characters, but even with these password requirements you may leave yourself at risk of possible hacks.
While you may never be 100% safe and secure, there are a number of ways you can go about boosting password security, both for your personal and professional accounts. To help, here are our top password security tips you absolutely need to use.
Top Password Security Tips
- Make sure your passwords are 12-15 characters in length
- Use a password manager to store your passwords
- Don’t use the same password across all of your accounts
- Frequently change your passwords — especially if you have been compromised
- Properly utilize Security Questions
Considering Password Length is a Critical Step
The first of our password security tips, don’t use a short password. Short passwords are easier to hack. Ideally, you’ll shoot for the 12 to 15 character length, although you can make it longer if you like (just make sure you’re able to remember it).
Don’t just use 15 straight letters on the keyboard either. You need it to be difficult to guess. “QWERTYUIOP” isn’t a difficult to guess password. If you struggle to come up with something on the longer side consider using a saying without the spaces.
Perhaps your grandmother use to say “Oh me oh my.” Well, you can turn “grannysaidohmeohmy” into a password, and few people are going to guess it. And, if you want to mix it up and the service provider requires you to add letters or symbols, you can always change it to “Granny$a1dohmeohmy.”
Nobody said you couldn’t get creative or have fun with your password creation.
Strongly Consider a Password Manager to Store Your Passwords
Many operating systems now come with a built-in password manager. This makes it easier to log into your account without actually typing in the password. Having the password manager allows you to create more robust passwords. It also helps you in the event that a keylogger has been installed on the computer. A keylogger records your keystrokes and then sends the information out. If you type your full password the keylogger will record this and someone monitoring the information will then be able to get into whatever account you accessed.
The only downside with a password manager is if you need to log into your account on a different computer and you can’t remember your password. Outside of this potential issue, password managers do help with your account security.
Keep one thing in mind though. If you use a public computer, or if multiple people use your computer, don’t use a browser-enabled password manager. Browsers like Safari and Chrome have this feature built in. Yes, it is helpful, but it isn’t going to do you much good if someone else uses the computer. And if you decide to sell the computer when upgrading, make sure all this information is purged.
Switch It Up With a Range of Different Passwords
Don’t use the same password across the board. Because if someone hacks your account and manages to steal your password they will then be able to hack into every single one of your accounts. That’s not good.
If you struggle to remember a dozen different passwords (you’re not alone), you can keep your email passwords the same and focus on using different passwords for your sensitive accounts, such as your online banking or credit monitoring accounts. While someone sneaking into your Instagram account is annoying, someone sneaking into your online checking account can be devastating. Protect yourself by using different passwords whenever possible.
Change Your Password When Necessary
Some services might tell you to change your password every few months. Realistically this isn’t necessary. If you have a long, tricky password, the chances of someone hacking your account now versus six months from now won’t be different.
However, if you think someone might know your account password it is essential to change it up. It doesn’t matter if you know this for a fact or you just have a hunch, you will need to log onto your account using a different device you know it’s being monitored (such as through your smartphone) and then change the password.
Utilize Security Questions Properly
When setting up a new account and password some services will ask you to fill out a security question. This is used in case you forget your password or login information. Don’t use something that can be easily guessed or Googled. Finding out your mother’s maiden name is easy. If a person can hack your account you better believe they know how to Google your mom’s name.
Instead, you need to set up a security question and answer that someone is not able to look up or guess. Don’t go with what car you first owned or what school you went to. Unless, that is, you make up the answer. Nobody said you need to be truthful with the security questions and answers. So if it is easier for you to remember a false answer but you know it’s impossible to look it up online, go ahead and fib away.
Help With All Your IT Needs
Password protection is critical in the modern Internet world. Just about everything you do, from banking to chatting with friends, comes with a password login. To prevent outsiders from accessing your personal information, financial data, and even medical information, you absolutely need to follow each and everyone of our top password security tips.
If you run your own business security protection doesn’t end with your password. Businesses of all sizes need to take network security to an entirely different level, as it isn’t just your professional information at risk but the information of your employees and your clients as well.
To get serious about your business network infrastructure and security, our team at Charlotte IT Solutions is here to help. So whether you want to know what our company can do for you or you’re ready to elevate your network security, now is the time to give us a call or shoot us an email. We’re here to help.