According to recent statistics, although 7 out of 10 people know the consequences of data breaches and having unsafe passwords, 75% of Americans report feeling frustrated over tracking multiple passwords. In the same vein, 66% say they use the same password for more than one account; 24% admit to having used variations of common passwords such as “Password,” “123456,” and “Qwerty”; and only 34% say they change their passwords regularly.
To be one step ahead of hackers and scammers, be proactive. Here are some helpful do’s and don’ts when creating online passwords…and remember, never give out forgotten password codes to anyone!
Don’t: Reuse Passwords
One of the most common password blunders is reusing the same password everywhere. Data breaches happen all the time, and once they do, scammers can sell your password information. If your passwords are all the same, these scammers don’t just have access to one account; they can infiltrate multiple accounts.
Don’t: Use Similar Passwords
To avoid reusing passwords, we often try to create patterns or sets of related passwords. For example, we tend to use a place, name, or common word as the base, capitalize the first letter, add a number (usually 1 or 2), then add a symbol. Sound familiar? Unfortunately, these methods are pretty predictable, letting hackers guess more of your passwords after they get just one.
Don’t: Use or Overshare Personal Information
If you use a password based on personal information someone might know or find online (such as your name, birthday, username, hometown, pet’s name, or email address), your accounts aren’t as secure as you think. To protect yourself, avoid using predictable information in your passwords and limit what you share online.
Do: Use Random Passphrases
Some of the most secure and effective passwords are actually passphrases formed from random combinations of words, numbers, and special characters. With so many elements that are unrelated to you, the chances of your password being guessed are very low. You can also use a random passphrase generator to help you create your password. You can customize the number of words and characters – but expect to end up with something like “AirplaneObeyScornFailure5!”
Making mistakes with your passwords is one of the easiest ways to land yourself in trouble online. Follow these tips to keep your accounts and personal information locked down.