In a technological world where security breaches happen, it’s important to keep your account safe.
It’s easy to forget how important a password is. Sometimes we let our internet browsers auto-fill them in for us, so we don’t even have to remember them. Often, we don’t even change our passwords until we are forced. However, it’s crucial to have a safe, secure password that protects your account and all your information in it. Here’s how:
Make sure you use a different password for each institution, like your bank account and email. If you use the same password and someone hacks your account, they’ll then be able to get into all your personal information.
Many families use a base password, like a pet’s name or surname. However, this puts you at significantly higher risk because the password itself is so guessable and grants access to all your family’s accounts. It’s best to use a password that can’t be easily guessed by someone who knows you or your family.
The strongest passwords consist of a mix of numbers, letters, and symbols. Sometimes websites already require a password to have at least six letters with mixed case, a number, and a symbol. The symbols are best placed within the word itself – this makes it harder to guess. For instance, “Lassie18!” is much easier to guess than “L@ssie18.” The longer the password, the longer it will take for a computer to systematically try all the possible combinations. Often, with a secure password, it takes months, or even years.
In addition to a secure password, you need to have an up-to-date recovery email set up in your account. If you do somehow forget your login information, the institution needs to be able to reach you with a “reset password” link, and if your email is outdated, you won’t receive it. Many websites allow a recovery telephone number to be entered, and they’ll send a text with a security code to make sure it’s really you logging in.
Often, websites require a security question when creating an account. If possible, make your question something to which only you would know the answer. Mix the case of the answer, so even if an intruder knows the answer, they can’t enter it correctly.
The tricky part of having a secure password is remembering it. If you tend to have trouble remembering passwords, try using a trusted password manager (you can find them on Google) to keep track of all of them. Do not leave your passwords in a document on your computer or phone, as those are easily hacked.
Dodging security breaches on your account can be difficult, but with secure passwords, you’re far more likely to avoid an incident. Most websites are user-friendly, so changing your password to something stronger has never been easier.
Written by Taylor Hickney