Passwords have the key to unlock access to our network of friends, work colleagues, and most importantly our bank accounts. It is imperative to keep our passwords private, diverse, and hard to crack. There are cybercriminals out there spending their days finding the codes to peoples digital accounts and gaining access to their most private information.
While most of us think we know all there is about having a secure password, we are not only making it more complicated then it needs to be, but are still making small mistakes that could make our accounts easily accessible to hackers. Read on to learn the 7 tips to keep your digital accounts secure.
1. Creating your password
When it comes to creating a password it is important to think ‘Length not Complexity’. You want to have a password that has enough characters in it that it is hard to crack, but not one that you’re going to easily forget or have to write down in order to remember it.
Stay away from simple patterns such as ‘1234’ or ‘qwert’ . Also avoid common sports or pop culture terms or phrases. Passwords that contain these are much more vulnerable to having an account hacked due to their commonality.
Lastly, mix up your digits, symbols, and capital letters. Having them all right in a row doesn’t provide enough variation to consider it a secure password.
An example of a good password could be the phrase “I want to go to Europe this year” and the password could be “iw2g2Ety”
2. Don’t use the same password for different accounts
So, you've come up with a very secure password, well, if you’re using it to access multiple digital accounts it becomes significantly more vulnerable. While it’s easier to use and memorize the same password, it gives hackers access to all of your personal accounts when they have access to one. If you have too many accounts and passwords to keep track, you'll find the next tip to be helpful.
3. Use a password manager
A password manager prevents tip #2 from happening by generating, retrieving, and keeping track of all you’re complicated passwords for all of your accounts. Your information ranging from passwords, PINs, credit card, and CVV numbers, answers to security questions etc. are secure in what you could consider a ‘vault’ that can be accessed by only you. CoreTech supports an enterprise-level password manager called LastPass. It is a great tool to use, and inexpensive. Ask us about it!
4. Use multifactor authentication
Multifactor authentication requires more than one method of authentication to verify the identity of the user. The most common credentials are...
- What the user knows - What the user knows’ includes usernames, passwords, PINs, and answers to questions.
- What the user has - What the user has’ deals with anything a user must have in order to log in such as a security token, one time password token, key fob, employee ID card, or smartphone.
- What the user is - What the user is involves biometric authentication which includes retina scans, fingerprint scans, facial recognition, voice recognition and so on.
Although this takes a bit longer to gain access to a site, it’s a remarkable deterrent for someone trying to gain access to your account.
5. Log out
When you’re done using a site, log out. If someone were to gain access to your computer they could have access to all of your accounts as well. Especially log out of your email since many sites use your email as a way to reset your password. If they gain access to your email they have access to everything else. It only takes a few seconds to log back in once you return to the site, don't make yourself vulnerable in order to save a few seconds.
6. Don’t fall for ‘phishing’ scams
Be wary when clicking on a link from an email, even if it appears legitimate. Many phishing attacks ask you to log in, change your password, or provide other personal information that will help them gain access to your personal accounts. If you are unsure if it is legitimate, use the company’s known URL and continue from that site rather than the link in the email.
7. Always update software
With the frequent notifications that a different program needs a software update, it seems easiest to just put off the updates until later. However, to increase security you need to update your software, especially your anti-malware software. Malicious software known as ‘keyboard loggers’ are used to record you keystrokes, in order to steal passwords and other information. Updating software means an update in security, don't use out of date software on a computer that also contains access to your personal, or work accounts.
Keeping your passwords secure sounds like a lot of work, but following even just a few of these tips can increase the security on your digital accounts. Don't risk your information to save time, you could regret it later!