Whoa! Facebook says hackers try to steal your stuff about 600,000 times daily. A more recent example: Zappos online store was hacked and hackers gained information on 24 million customers. While full customer credit card information wasn’t compromised, all customer passwords had to be deleted. We’re sure you’ve heard of other scary hacks. So if you’ve been a little lax about your passwords, it’s really time sit up and take notice.
So, what to do?
First, Avoid These Common Mistakes
- Never use simple passwords such as blank or password
- Never use personal or associated names, towns, addresses, etc.
- Never use your telephone number or license plate number
- NEVER use your social security number!
- Never use simple patterns of letters or numbers like asdfg or 12345
- Never use single dictionary words – even disguised!
Creating Your Password
- Use a combination of all of the following in your password:
- Both upper and lower case letters
- A minimum of 8 characters (the longer the better where permitted)
- Special characters (those permitted)
Use a pseudo-random phrase: A great way to create a unique password is to think of a phrase only you would know, and then use letters, numbers and symbols to create the password:
- I Love To Go Skiing In Aspen in March: iL2gsIAi3
- It was a dark and stormy night on the 13th of June: iWadaSnoT130J
- My favorite play is Shakespeare’s King Henry The Eighth (VIII): mFpiSsKhtV3!
Unique Passwords for Your Important Accounts
Never use the same passwords for your important banking, stock, healthcare and personal information accounts. Hackers test stolen passwords and usernames from a particular site across many internet sites, meaning your identity and banking and stock resources could be severely compromised with single use passwords. Give each of these account types a unique password!
Keep your password reminders in a Safe Place
Most of us couldn’t possibly remember all of our passwords to all of the sites we commonly use. So, if you decide to save your passwords, don’t leave notes with your passwords lying around in plain sight.
If you save your passwords in a file, create a unique name for the file, so that people don’t know what’s inside. Avoid giving the file an obvious name, such as “my passwords”; instead use a unique file name.
Password managers are available through your security programs and elsewhere, but spend the time to check out reputable resources. If you have a difficult time remembering different passwords, a trusted password manager may be a good solution.
Need A Better Password: There are numerous password generators, but make sure you use a reputable one! As an example, here is a quick PC Tools online version: http://www.pctools.com/guides/password
By following some simple, but important rules, you can substantially reduce or eliminate your chances of having critical information such as your banking, credit card and identity stolen!