5 Ways to Ensure Your Online Passwords Are Secure
A password is a lot more than just that annoying thing you need to type into your computer before you can get to your e-mail. Oftentimes a password is the only thing that is keeping your private information out of the hands of people who shouldn’t be accessing it. Just choosing the name of your favorite pet or the numbers that make up your birthday is no longer enough. If you really want to have a secure password, there are a few things you’re going to want to keep in mind.
Use a combination of numbers and letters
Though using only a specific word or only a specific date can make your password easier to remember, it will also ultimately make your password easier to guess. Mix your passwords up a bit. Instead of just “baseballfan,” use “baseballfan72” as a password. An even better solution would be to put the numbers in a place where they wouldn’t be expected, like “7baseball2fan” or some variation thereof.
Don’t use actual words as your password
This will unfortunately make your password more difficult to remember, but the security level of the password will increase exponentially. Use a random collection of letters and numbers that don’t actually have any meaning for the most secure passwords possible.
Don’t answer the security questions properly
Many accounts will ask you to answer a series of questions to be used later on to prove your identity. These questions are often “What high school did you go to?” or “What is your mother’s maiden name?” While this can be helpful if you forget your password, it also makes it incredibly easy for someone to gain access to your account. All they need to know is the correct answer to the security question to gain access. Instead of answering with the name of the high school you went to, for example, use a different term altogether that has no bearing on that particular question.
Don’t use the same password for everything
This is a mistake that an unfortunate amount of people make. If your e-mail account is compromised, for example, one of the first things a person will try to do is use the same password to access other types of accounts. Protect all your accounts by using separate passwords for each one. This way one account infiltration doesn’t affect all of your online accounts.
Change your passwords regularly
Even if you haven’t had any problems with identity theft, you can never be too safe. Set a reminder for yourself to change your passwords every six months or so. Follow the normal rules of creating and maintaining a secure password each time. It may be a lot of work now, but it’s time you will have gladly spent if the worst does happen one day and a hacker manages to gain access to one of your accounts.