Let's face it, most of us don't do a great job of securing our passwords. And according to recent data, many of us probably use similar passwords and patters. In fact, of 10 million passwords analyzed last year, 17 percent were '123456.' Additionally, 25 passwords made up over 50 percent of those keywords tested.
In other words, we aren't doing much to keep our information and profiles safe. And with the many places we use passwords, losing one password can mean you lost ALL of your passwords. In fact, studies show that the majority of people use five or fewer passwords for all of their online accounts.
What can you do to keep your password safe? Glad you asked. Let's find out.
While this tip may seem obvious, there is still a quite large number of people who write their passwords down. In fact, about 30 percent of people reported writing their passwords down and hiding it.
If you happen to leave your password lying out, it may fall into the wrong hands. Even if you throw it out, thieves can still dig through your trash and take it. If you still feel the need to write down your password, consider leaving out the username so the person doesn't have everything they need to access your accounts. Even better, consider varying up the password enough so it is indecipherable to anyone else.
Using one password can act as a "master key" to all your information. For example, if you use the same password for your email, social media and bank accounts, it would take alomost no time at all for a hacker to swoop in steal your identity - and your money.
Consider varying up passwords for each site to keep your information safe. Also, practice changing your password often in to add an extra layer of security to your accounts.
When it comes to passwords, longer is always better. In fact, many recommend having a password of at least 16 characters. While this may seem daunting, consider using a phrase or song lyric as your password. This will make it easier to remember and long enough to keep your accounts safer. On top of this, consider varying up character casing as well as adding in symbols and numbers.
Password managers are apps that generate passwords for use in third party applications. They work by keeping your passwords in a central and safe location. Think of it like a bank vault, storing valuables in a safe.
These applications also allow you to create very long and complex passwords. For instance, you could create a very long, random combination of letters and numbers for logging into a software application. Then, the next time you need to log in to that application, you log in to your password manager and it does the rest! Many security experts recommend the use of password managers. Think of it like a Fort Knox for passwords!
Another great application to use is multifactor authentication(MFA). What this does is add an extra layer of security on top of your password An example of MFA is a pin that gets regenerated every minute or so. So, after you enter your password, you get another prompt asking you for your pin. The pin is usually stored in a separate piece of hardware or another device such as a mobile phone. This ensures that if your password ever does get compromised, the hacker is still locked out of your account.
One thing to stay cognizant of is to never give your password out over email. Many hackers will attempt to act as a company (a bank for example) telling you they need your password. This hack, known as phishing, is a very easy and effective way of getting access to private information.
No company should ever ask you for your password. If you ever do get an email you think could be a phish, verify the sender address. Many times it will be something like the organization it is imitating (i.e., g00gle.com). Also, be wary of links you click on in emails and on the internet, as those URLs may follow a similar pattern.
While this list is far from conclusive, these tips can make your passwords much safer. There is never a 100 percent foolproof solution, so it is important to be diligent in keeping your data safe. While the internet is a great tool, it definitely has its pitfalls. Losing a password can be costly. Be sure to practice these tips.