How secure are your online passwords? With millions of people using the Internet to do online banking, socialize, shop, find jobs, share content, and everything in between, the need for multiple passwords has continued to increase.
As we rely more on the Internet to store and access our financial records and online lives, the risk of having one of your many password protected accounts hacked increases.
Are your passwords strong and secure enough or are you just waiting to be hacked?
Weak vs. Strong passwords.
A weak password is one that is either easy to guess or easily hacked with password generator programs. Weak passwords are usually those that are either very common or easy to guess when considering all available information.
For example if your password for your online banking site is your name plus your year of birth, well you are just waiting to have your financial information compromised.
A strong password on the other hand is hard to guess and is harder to crack with automated password generator programs. A strong password will contain numbers as well as letters in many cases. Birthdays, social security numbers, your name, and addresses shouldn’t be used as a password. If the password you choose is obvious to those around you or comes from information readily available about you, then it may not be very strong.
Make use of misspellings and combinations.
A secure password will use a combination of letters and numbers. Using a purposely misspelled word can also be a secure password. A password of all random numbers can also be relatively secure.
Many experts recommend that you should routinely change your various passwords, although some people will only change them once the account has been hacked or the password has been leaked.
Never use the same password for every site you use.
If you use the same password for every website that you use, you are exposing yourself greatly to identity theft. If a hacker gets a password for one site linked to you, they will naturally try that password on every site you have. Use variations or completely different passwords for each site.
No matter how secure your password is, if the following happens it really won’t matter.
Never write down your passwords in obvious places, you’d be surprised how many people write and store their passwords on paper under their keyboards. Some even take it further and write down the password along with the site name and their username!
If someone comes across this password, well no matter how secure the password is, it has become useless as protection.
Keep your anti-virus software up to date and run regular scans. Keyloggers are small stealth programs that can get downloaded onto your computer without you realizing it. They then log every keystroke you type and sent that information to a third party computer. Passwords are easily lifted from computers by keyloggers and sent directly to someone trying to access accounts. They can also pick up credit card numbers, usernames, conversations online, and more.
Up-to-date virus scans will help protect you from keyloggers.
Keep secure by making unique passwords that only you will know. Change passwords on sites that have been hacked immediately and consider changing passwords from time to time. And of course remember to change the default password on new online accounts.