Password protection rests on the front line of digital security, and yet, many of us are shockingly cavalier about this essential first step. An alarming survey from Avast revealed that 83 percent of Americans rely on weak passwords, which places them at incredible risk of being hacked.
No matter how effectively you arm yourself against common breaches, your failure to utilize quality passwords will leave you vulnerable online. Thankfully, effective password protection is far more achievable than you might think. Below, we’re highlighting a few valuable tips for making strong online passwords.
Stick with Long Passwords
Hackers attempt to gain access to your sensitive information by using software that creates a random password. This trial-and-error method will be a lot more time-consuming if the hackers’ software is forced to generate passwords that are ten or more characters in length.
The temptation to use a password that is short and easy to remember is understandable. Keep in mind, however, that any password you can easily recall will be equally simple for someone else to decipher using brute force methods.
Avoid Personal Information
Thanks to social media, it’s easier than ever to find personal information about complete strangers. Armed with dates such as wedding anniversaries and birthdays, as well as the names of children, spouses, and even pets, hackers have plenty of information at their disposal. When in doubt, keep personal references far away from your password.
Use Random Strings of Letters and Numbers
The most effective passwords are often the hardest to remember, and for good reason: random combinations of letters and numbers cannot easily be guessed by humans looking to access your information. These complex strings are also less likely to be automatically generated by password creation software.
Unfortunately, simple efforts to replace every “O” with a zero will ultimately fall short. Instead, get creative with a password that’s not only complex but also easy enough for you to remember. Avoid using birthdays, Social Security numbers, or any information that hackers can obtain via social media or other publicly available means.
In addition to outfitting your password with a few numbers, feel free to include symbols. A random blend of uppercase and lowercase letters can also prove useful, as these combinations make passwords far more difficult for hackers to guess.
Hide Your Password
While the majority of password threats exist online, seemingly trustworthy people in your day-to-day life can also place you and your digital accounts at risk. A Post-It note password stuck to your monitor is certainly handy, but it’s also begging to be stolen by anyone who walks past your workspace.
The best place to store any password is in your head, where only you have access to it. Your efforts to keep passwords out of reach may seem distrusting, but such necessary measures could dramatically reduce the risk of future breaches.
Make the Most of Password Managers
If you’re like most internet users, you hold dozens of accounts protected by various passwords. One person can only remember so much, so it’s easy to see why you’ve fallen for the lure of repeating passwords on multiple accounts.
Equipped with an effective password manager, you can avoid the hassle of handling a multitude of different passwords. Some of the best password managers, such as 1Password, BitWarden, and LastPass, offer free or paid services that can handle all of your passwords across numerous devices. These managers store passwords in an encrypted form to enhance security. Many deliver added convenience via browser extensions designed to automatically fill in generated passwords when required.
Choose New Passwords on a Regular Basis
You’ve harnessed the tips outlined above to create a strong new set of passwords. Now, there’s nothing you’d love more than to rest easy knowing that your accounts are fully protected. Unfortunately, while they may be in good shape at the moment, there is no such thing as being 100 percent safe in the digital world.
Even the best passwords can eventually be cracked. Staying one step ahead of attackers by changing your password regularly is crucial. Don’t wait until your password expires and you’re forced to come up with a new one; be proactive and change your passwords on a monthly basis.
Opt for Multi-Factor Authentication
Strong passwords provide a powerful start, but multi-factor authentication can further elevate your security efforts. Now available for a wide variety of accounts, this option adds a code to your log-in protocol. This code may be sent to your email or to your phone via text message. Each additional step further reduces the potential for a successful brute force attack.
Improving Internet Security: How the NerdsToGo Charlotte Team Can Help
Are you ready to ramp up your password efforts? Or would you like to focus on other elements of your online security strategy? Either way, you can count on the team at NerdsToGo for assistance. We’re pleased to provide in-home computer services that address your problems and offer valuable solutions.
While our certified Nerds know exactly what to do in the aftermath of a breach, we’re even more enthusiastic about implementing preventative measures to keep your data as secure as possible. Contact us today to discover how we can safeguard your digital presence to prevent identity theft.