One of the biggest concerns about online safety is passwords, as these are the digital keys to all our information. No one is unhackable, and one must always be aware and take extra precautions to keep safe online.
Unfortunately, many people do not use secure passwords, and in fact, 23.2 million victim accounts worldwide used 123456 as a password 1.
In previous posts, we've mentioned that it's essential to create strong passwords, and by strong, we mean one that is secure as possible, that hackers won't easily guess themselves or crack using hacking tools. We've received many questions on how to do this, so we've broken it down into some actionable tips that will help you create a secure and memorable password.
1. Use a Password Manager.
One way to ensure your passwords are strong and safe is by getting a password manager that will do it for you; basically, this like outsourcing a job to a professional. Password managers are like a vault, you need one primary password to unlock the vault, and all your passwords and logins are inside. If you're worried about what happens if you forget the primary password - once you subscribe, you'll get a few emergency keys to print out or save somewhere in case you get locked out. Password managers typically require a subscription fee and can make logging into sites a few seconds longer, but they are defiantly worth it.
2. Length Matters.
The longer the password, the better. The minimum recommendation is 12 characters, and most sites won't let you apply a shorter one than eight characters. The more, the merrier!
3. Leave Out Those You Care About.
We love family and friends, but not in passwords. Names, anniversaries, and birthdays of loved ones - are to be remembered, but in no way related to your passwords. It's the first thing crooks look for in social media profiles and other sites when hacking into accounts.
4. Letters and Numbers and Symbols, Oh My!
Strong passwords must include both lower and upper case letters, at least one symbol, and one number. The keyboard's your playground. Have fun.
5. Two is Better Than One.
Individual words are the least reliable, so always use more than one word for your passwords. However, try to avoid apparent "logical" combinations. For example, the password "coffee" isn't strong at all, but neither is "strongcofee" or "blackcoffee." Hackers have tools that search for reasonable combinations.
Using symbols is essential, but writing c0ffee instead of coffee won't necessarily make your password stronger. Mixing it up, however, is a good idea. "J0e$259" for example (Cup of Joe is slang for coffee), includes all of the requirements, and you could use the price of how much your favorite cuppa is to make it easier to remember.
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7. Same Same But Different.
An excellent way to remember passwords for various sites without using the same one is by rewriting it with different symbols, another order, or creative associations. For example, if your password is "morningj0e$259" use the time you have your morning coffee for a second password: "8AMj0e$259".
8. Use a Password Generator
If you don't want to use a password manager tool and aren't in a creative mood, you can find plenty of free password generators online that will create unique and strong passwords for you. The generators can create complex passwords that on the one hand, can be very safe but on the other hand, tricky to remember. So be sure to write them down, go old school and use an actual paper and pen or keep an online document that is locked.
Be sure to update your passwords every couple of months for extra safety, and we also recommend using a 2FA wherever possible.
If you have concerns that your email or device is exposed to online threats, run a Guardio scan, and we'll detect any harmful activity associated with your device and browser.