Password security tips
Before you go devising the perfect password for your account, here are a few things to keep in mind from a password security standpoint:
- Vary your passwords and passcodes: If you have smart door locks on your front and garage door, select different passcodes for each device. Similarly, you don’t want to use the same password for all of your accounts. If someone were able to hack one of your accounts or devices with a discovered password or passcode, using the same code multiple times would only leave those other devices or accounts vulnerable to hacking
- If you need to store passwords, keep them in a secure place: Regardless of how clever we believe we are, hackers make it a point to know all of the common places people store passwords. Taping it under the keyboard may not be as tricky as you might think and keeping a post-it next to your computer with a list of passwords is like leaving your door wide open. If you must write down passwords, keep them secure. Alternately, you could also choose a password manager to help keep track of your many secure passwords.
- Be selective when it comes to sharing passwords: Most people share passwords with significant others and spouses. While we hope that our significant other is trustworthy and will never use personal information maliciously, breakups can sometimes be sticky. If you split from a partner who had your passwords, it’s a good idea to change them as soon as possible. Generally speaking, be selective when you share your passwords with others.
Choosing a secure password
The emphasis on password security has many wondering how to choose a password that won’t get hacked. Weak passwords often include information that is easy to uncover. For example, many people use birth dates or children’s names, believing they have a secure password. While important to the user, any person with Facebook access can easily discover those details.
Here are some password security tips. As a starting point, make your secure password by:
Making it as long as possible: The longer your password is, the more difficult it is to hack. Choosing a longer password will make it more secure.
Making it random: Ultimately, the most difficult passwords to hack are random. For this reason, businesses use automated systems that assign random passwords to users (such as (gId7349BfhEisy^&98). The difficulty with these passwords is that they are often hard to remember. People often choose to change it to something easier on the memory. Remembering your password is important, but avoid easily identifiable information, such as a pet’s name or a birthday.
Using two-factor authentication: When possible, use a service that offers two-factor authentication. The combination of multiple identifying elements makes your accounts more difficult to hack.
Going alphanumeric and using special characters: Use a combination of characters to create your secure password. This involves using a selection of uppercase and lowercase letters, numbers, and any special characters (such as %&*#). The more varied your password, the more difficult it will be to hack.
Using misspellings: Using misspellings is another easy way to insert additional password security into your accounts. Because hackers often try to use identifying information as part of the password, using a misspelling can be harder to guess (for example, using ”favret” in place of favorite).
Choosing a secure passcode
Many devices such as smart door locks require a passcode using a numerical touchpad. Often, a four-digit passcode is required to gain entry. Being limited by four numbers doesn’t mean you need to leave yourself vulnerable.
When choosing a secure passcode, avoid the following:
- Numbers in sequence (ex. 1234, 5678)
- Repeated digits (ex. 5555, 8899, or 6767)
- Identifying numbers, such as birthdates, social security number, or address
Selecting a random passcode is the best way to go.
Take the time to strengthen your passwords and reap the benefits of beefed-up digital security.