Are Your Passwords Protecting You?
As more and more of life takes place online, we’re sharing an increasing amount of private information on the Internet... and getting a lot more comfortable about doing so. Therein lies the problem; as we become more lax, criminals become more adept at hacking information, such as credit card and bank accounts, and social security numbers.
Your first line of defense for protecting yourself on the Internet? A stalwart password. Here are some guidelines for creating and maintaining super-strong passwords.
- Never share your password with anyone. You may think it innocent enough to give your password to a close friend or family member, but once it’s out of your hands its safety is out of your control. You never know when it can accidentally land in the hands of the wrong person.
- Create complicated passwords, but one’s you can remember. Combine facts only you know, such as your childhood phone number, the name of your first crush or your confirmation name. Then take the first letter and/or digit of such facts and create a password that’s a mystery to others but one you’ll never forget.
- Use a mix of lower and upper case numbers, letters and symbols, choosing numbers and symbols that double for a letter, such as the @ sign for A, $ for S, and the number 1 for I. Mix these numbers and symbols to abbreviate a familiar phrase.
- Consider double authentication, like fingerprints or images.
- If it’s in the dictionary, don’t use it. There’s actually software that criminals can use to guess words used in dictionaries for passwords.
- Mix it up. While it’s tempting to only have to remember one password, don’t. Use different passwords for different sites—that way if one gets hacked, it won’t take down your entire online world.