You wouldn’t leave your house unlocked while you’re on a two-week vacation – so don’t leave your personal information unlocked with easy-to-guess passwords! Protecting your personal information online on a daily basis will help reduce the risk of identity theft. While most know it’s important, the majority of Americans do not follow recommended cybersecurity practices in their own digital lives. In fact, 64% of Americans have experienced at least one type of data breach in their lifetime1. One key way to protect yourself is making sure your passwords are strong enough to keep your data as safe as possible.
Highlighted below are password security tips to help you stay safe online.
Avoid easy to guess passwords. You probably already know the basics: don’t use “password” or “password1,” your name or any of your family members’ names, and don’t reuse passwords from one site to another. It’s easy for the bad actors to figure out passwords that look secure, such as substituting a zero for the letter O (“passw0rd”), common phrases are easy for today’s sophisticated criminals to guess in a short time.
Use a different password for each online account. The average person has more than 100 passwords, so this can be challenging, but can be seen as a necessary inconvenience.
Create a long password. It should be at least 8 characters long and contain the following:
- 1 capital letter
- 1 lowercase letter
- 1 number (but avoid number sequences such as 123, 111)
- 1 special character (note: some systems limit the types of special characters you can use)
Tip: Use the first letter of each word of a common phrase – “I want pizza with mushrooms and extra cheese” would be lwpwmaec, for example. Add a number you can remember to that, capitalize a letter in the middle, and you have a password that would be very hard to crack.
Consider using “passphrases”—random unrelated words put together. A common example for this is: correcthorsebatterystaple – just pick four unrelated words you can remember!
Change your passwords frequently. Set a reminder to change your passwords every 3 months.
Avoid using default passwords. If you are assigned a password when you sign up, be sure to change it right away.
If you or someone you know would like to discuss saving for the future and protect what matters most to you and your family, contact the office today at 830-609-6986 to schedule time to talk.