Password Best Practices: Keeping Your Online Accounts Secure

In 2019, we store everything online. All of our email, bank accounts, credit cards, and so many other sources of personal information can be accessed online. The flexibility of logging into these accounts from virtually anywhere is a huge perk, but as you streamline your digital accounts it’s important to make sure you’re not sacrificing security.

One way to keep things secure is to make sure the passwords you’re using for your accounts aren’t easy to crack.

Setting a Secure Password

  • Create a strong password for each new account you open. Strong passwords are generally 8 characters in length and made up of uppercase and lowercase letters, numbers and symbols.
  • Don’t make it easy to guess. This includes making your password a series of numbers in order, keys that sit neck to each other on the keyboard, or including easy to access personal information like your date of birth or a family member’s name.
  • Refrain from using words that can be found in the dictionary, and incorporate numbers and letters throughout the password, don’t just group them together at either end. Both of these steps make it more challenging for sophisticated hacking programs to guess your password.
  • Use a different password for every account, but make sure that passwords aren’t so long and complicated that you can’t remember them. Phrases are often easier to remember and harder to guess.

Once you have a secure password in place, there are additional measures you can take to make sure it doesn’t fall into the wrong hands.

Password Best Practices

  • Use two-factor authentication, which requires you to input a  pin that is emailed or texted to you as you attempt to log in. Even if someone gets ahold of your password, they won’t be able to log in without this secondary confirmation of identity.
  • Don’t use the same password for multiple websites.
  • If you’re having trouble remembering your passwords, use a password manager that allows you to access all of your saved passwords when you log in.
  • Don’t share your passwords. Keep your data private by creating new passwords and accounts that you can control for anyone who might need access.
  • If you run a business, make sure passwords are changed each time an employee leaves. Things can go sour with even the best employees, and you don’t want to risk someone who no longer works for your company having access to your accounts.
  • In general, changing passwords on a regular basis is a good habit to get into.

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