These Tips Can Help Your Electronic Info Stay Safe and Secure
Do you practice safe password habits? In today’s world where almost everything is connected to the Internet of Things (IoT) and protecting your networks, accounts, and even home devices with passwords is more important than ever. But it’s not enough to simply secure devices and accounts with passwords. In most cases, our passwords can be guessed easily by hackers, because humans have a tendency to use things that are easy to remember.
If you aren’t using a secure password, this could be almost as dangerous as not protecting your accounts at all.
This doesn’t just mean avoiding the obvious, like “password” or “1234”. Using easily guessable things, like children’s names, anniversaries, birthdays, or your favorite color can leave you at risk of being hacked. Every 39 seconds, someone gets hacked. That means that you are constantly a target - and having weak passwords could be what turns you into a victim.
So what can you do to avoid this type of risk? Create unbreakable passwords! This might seem complicated, but using some smart tips, you can create and manage tons of strong passwords to keep your sensitive info and devices secure.
Tips For Creating Powerful Passwords
Hackers use sophisticated programs and systems to try and decode passwords. If an attack is personal, they may try to look at your social media or personal information for clues to hack into online sites like bank accounts. Using long, complicated passwords can be a great way to boost the strength of your password and reduce any risk of cracking it. But, there’s also a big risk of forgetting your password, too. And worse yet, having a complicated password may prompt you to want to write it down and leave it lying around an area where someone can easily pick it up.
So what is the best way to get around these common issues and still ensure your accounts, devices, and overall security on the internet is protected from potential cyber attacks? Here are some tips to help you craft (and manage) various strong passwords for all your internet-connected needs.
Create Long Passwords
One of the best ways to make it difficult for hackers to break into your accounts is by implementing a password that is long and wordy. Rather than trying to come up with a one-word or a short phrase, think about sentences and how you can try to abbreviate them so they are unique to you. You can also try stringing together various words that are random and have no connection to each other! This makes it harder for hackers to narrow down the password.
Another great option is to use words that only you know! Hackers use combinations of dictionary words to try and break into your accounts, so incorporating words or phrases unique to you can help stump even the most seasoned cyber criminal.
Use a Different Password For Different Sites
So you’ve created an ultra-complicated password that you’re sure is unbreakable… but you’ve started using it for everything from your bank app to your email account to your favorite retail site. This is almost as bad as using the word “qwerty” or “password1234” (which are the top two worst options).
When a hacker gets into an account, the chances that they’ll stop at one place are slim, especially if the target is personal or financially driven. If you’re using the same (or similar - hackers can be clever, too) passwords across various accounts, this can be putting you at risk, too. Even if it is super complicated, it’s best to change it up, especially for the important stuff. Remember, if they have one password, and it’s the same for all accounts, they have access to all your sensitive information.
Manage All Your Passwords Securely
Now that you’ve got all new, extra secure passwords in place for all the important (and not-so-important) stuff, how exactly are you supposed to keep track? Even the most cryptic and complicated password is no good if you keep forgetting it! But if you can’t write it down, and you can’t save them in a note on your phone (even if your phone is locked with biometrics and extra security) - how are you supposed to keep track?
With a password manager, of course! Investing in a high-security option like Dashlane, LastPass, and 1Password. For these, you’ll only need to come up with one really really strong password (think random words, letters, symbols, in a combination that only makes sense to you). With that one password, you’ll be able to easily access all the others in a safe and secure way.
Change Your Passwords (But Not So Often)
Previously, it was often required to regularly update your passwords (such as with office emails or computer logins) because it was thought to reduce the risk of hacking breaches and increase overall security for employees, businesses, and personal users. Nowadays, the importance of creating secure passwords and keeping them properly stored in a safe place greatly supersedes the idea that frequent changes are the best practice.
While it is recommended to change your passwords at least once a year, you should only change your password with haste if an account has been breached or you suspect suspicious activity.
Practice Good Cyber Hygiene
Another way to help reduce your risk of attacks is to be diligent and smart when using the internet. Avoid suspicious websites, never put your information into a website you don’t trust, learn to recognize the signs of a phishing attack, and don’t be afraid to do extra research to verify the validity of a certain site or app.
If you think you need an audit of your password management skills or technology audit of your business, contact us today to schedule an appointment! We offer a range of services for various industries, including healthcare, corporate, and more. Call us at 1.800.999.2495 to learn more.