How to Make Your Passwords Hack-Proof
Let’s talk passwords. When was the last time you changed your password for your online banking, email, blog, favorite online shopping sites, or any of your social network tools? Chances are it needs to be done as soon as you are done reading this.
Why it’s important to change your password
Think of your password as a secret knock into a world of your personal security. Having a unique password makes it more difficult for a hacker to get in and steal your information. A single unique password for all accounts is not good enough. A hacker can easily figure out that one password and use it to break into all of your other accounts.
What makes a good password?
That’s a great question! Here’s what you don’t want your password to be:
- A family member’s name
- The last 4 digits of your social security number
- Password- yes, really. According to PCWorld.com, it’s the second most popular password in the list. And using “passw0rd” and substituting the zero for the “o” is just as easy to guess.
- Your date of birth or the birthday of anyone in your immediate family
Now that you know what hackers look for, here’s how you thwart them:
Go beyond the required password length. If the password field says that you need to have 6 characters, make yours 8. The more characters, the less likely it is to be guessed.
- When in doubt of your password, click on the retrieve password button on the site you visit to access your account. Use the unique link to access your account and change it.
- Don’t store your many logins and passwords as a Word document on your computer. If your computer is stolen, think of what a treasure trove of information that document becomes!
- Set an automatic calendar reminder to change your passwords each month, or at the very least, every three months.
- Use a combination of letters, numbers, and symbols. For example, if your password is your dog’s name (Spot) and your anniversary (October 17), instead of it reading Spot1017, change it to: $p0tTen17 A combination of capital letters combined with symbols, letters, and numbers is much harder to guess!
Now go and change your passwords to keep your information safe! You’re welcome!
– Leticia Barr, Tech Savvy Chica