Protect your accounts - Use secure, unique passwords

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Title: Protect your accounts - Use secure, unique passwords
Category: Educational articles
Published: Wednesday, 9 September, 2020

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Protect your accounts - Use secure, unique passwords

It is no secret that passwords for cybercriminals are worth the money. The use of secure, unique passwords is becoming increasingly important as more and more personal information is entrusted to organizations and businesses that may become victims of data breaches and password leaks. The least you can do to prevent large-scale data breaches is to be careful when making sure you create strong usernames and passwords in your online accounts.

So let's try to understand - How to create a strong password?

Do not use personal information

Do not use your name or the names of family members or pets in your passwords. Also, do not use numbers such as address, phone number, or date of birth. They can be publicly available, in completed forms or on social media profiles, and are easily accessible to hackers.

Do not use real words

Password hacking tools are very effective in helping attackers guess your password. These programs can process each word in the selected dictionary, as well as alphanumeric combinations, until a match is found. Do not allow the use of real words from a dictionary or proper names. Use special characters instead. Combining uppercase and lowercase letters with numbers and special characters such as "&" or "$". This way, you can increase the complexity of your password and help reduce the chances of someone hacking your account.

Create longer passwords

The longer the password, the harder it can be cracked. Use at least 10 characters.

Change easy-to-remember phrases

One of the tips is to figure out the password in this way, for example, by choosing a line for a song, and then use the first letter of each word, replacing some letters with numbers. For example: "100 beer bottles on the wall" could become "10aPdUzS".

Do not write down passwords in easily accessible places

Resist the temptation to hide passwords under the keyboard or write them down on paper. The stories of hackers who obtain passwords by digging into the trash, also known as diving in waste containers, are completely real.

When typing your password in a public place, make sure no one is looking over your shoulder.

One way to securely store and remember passwords is to use a tool that stores your list of usernames and passwords in encrypted form. Some of these tools, called password managers, will even help you fill in information automatically on some sites.

Change your passwords regularly

Online financial account passwords must be changed every month. Computer logon passwords must be changed at least quarterly. If you use the same password for a long time, your information may be compromised in the event of a data breach.

Use different passwords for different accounts

Do not use the same password for more than one account. If a hacker breaks it, all information protected by this password in other accounts may also be compromised. Use a password generator to help create unique and strong passwords.

Do not type passwords on devices or networks that you do not manage

Never enter a password on another person's computer. It can be saved without your knowledge.

When using devices such as a smartphone, computer, tablet on a public Wi-Fi network, you should avoid visiting sites that require you to log in to your account, such as an online bank account or online stores. When you're on a vulnerable public WiFi network, a hacker nearby can intercept your unencrypted data. To help protect yourself from these threats while on a public Wi-Fi connection, you should always use a virtual private network (VPN).

What is Two-factor authentication and how does it work?

Two-factor authentication, or 2FA, is an identity verification method that adds a second layer of security to your account password. For example, if you sign in from a new and / or unknown device, it may require additional security steps. Two-factor authentication types can include one of the following additional steps:

Something you know: an additional PIN number, password or question;

Something you have: a link to a bank account or credit card, mobile phone or security token (generated key);

Something you are: a form of biometric authentication, such as a fingerprint, voice, or face.

Two factors are extra security for your passwords.

With Two-Factor Authentication, you get an extra layer of security that hackers may not be able to crack as easily because a criminal doesn't just need a username and password. You may already be using Two-Factor Authentication without even knowing it.

An example would be making a payment with a bank card. Your bank card is an example of combining a physical card and a PIN before making a payment.

Remember that nothing is 100% secure, and even two-factor authentication can not protect against a hacker attack. If a cyber criminal gains access to an email account associated with your Two-Factor Authentication information, they can reset your password by selecting "Forgot / Forgot Password" on the login page for that site. This password recovery option could completely bypass 2FA and allow a hacker to create a new password by blocking you from your own account. Be sure to monitor your email account for messages requiring a password change.

In this article, "Protect Your Accounts - Using Secure, Unique Passwords," we discussed the essence of secure passwords. But Secure Passwords is just one piece of the puzzle. To create a safer online environment, also use a firewall and other security tools to help protect your online identity.

If you have any questions about the security of your data or want to schedule a consultation, contact us today!

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