In this world of constantly emerging cyber threats, it is incredibly important to secure your passwords. In prior decades, simply having a password for an account was enough to deter hackers, but as technology becomes more complex, hackers continue to find new ways to break into accounts. Reduce your chances of getting hacked by paying attention to the tips and methods below.
Passwords should be hard for both human hackers and computer algorithms to guess. One way to make passwords hard to guess is to increase their complexity. Each letter or digit in a password is one extra thing a hacker needs to figure out.
Secure passwords should be at least 8 characters in length and contain a mixture of uppercase letters, lowercase letters, numbers and special characters like “$” and “@”. When creating your password, avoid using easily guessed words and numbers like your pet’s name, your birthday or your address.
To create the strongest password, you should avoid using dictionary words altogether. Instead, use meaningless combinations of letters, numbers and special characters.
Regularly update your passwords so that a password that may have been compromised months or years ago cannot be used to impact your current life. It is recommended to update your passwords every month. At the very least, passwords should be updated more than once per year.
If you learn that your information has potentially been compromised, change your password immediately. Additionally, you should never use the same password for more than one website. If you use the same password across many different websites, one compromised site could put all of your other accounts at risk. Avoid this risk by using a unique password for each account.
A lot of people write their passwords down in an effort to help them remember, but this is a very unsafe method of password management. Someone could find your password notes or journal and have access to your accounts. Instead, use a password manager tool that uses encryption to protect your password information.
Two-factor authentication, also called 2FA, is an extra step that helps verify and protect your identity beyond the use of a password. In two-factor authentication, you use a second method of authentication to verify your identity.
This second method of authentication often takes the form of a temporary authentication code, a text message response or the use of an authenticator app. Other forms of two-factor authentication include entering a PIN when using a debit card, using biometric data like fingerprint scanning and asking for answers to security questions.
Many people are already using two-factor authentication without realizing it. To employ further protection to your passwords by using two-factor authentication, look into solutions like Google Authenticator and Microsoft Authenticator.
While there is not a completely foolproof way to protect your passwords from hackers, employing all of the above tips and methods will help you secure your passwords and greatly reduce your risks of being hacked.