We’ve all forgotten our passwords at some point. People often use simple passwords, such as their pet’s name, or easy-to-remember dates such as a birthday. A hacker could try various details about you to hack your account. When they get lucky, your ID, privacy and financial security can all be theirs!

The significance of employing secure passwords is subsequently more important than ever. Hackers always want passwords, it can be a valuable thing to have!

With multi-factor authentication (MFA), you get an extra layer of security that hackers can’t easily access, because the criminal needs more than just the username and password credentials. You’re actually more familiar with this than you might think. Your ATM card is a 2FA method via your physical card and your pin number, plus many online payments now employ a method similar to this.

Protect sensitive data by learning more about the 2FA method and employing a few key password tips.

The MFA Method

MFA is a method of verifying your identity that adds a second factor of authentication in addition to your account password.

  • Something you know – a pin number, password or pattern.
  • Something you have – an ATM or credit card, mobile phone or security token such as a key fob or USB token.
  • Something you are – Biometric authentication such as a voiceprint or fingerprint.

Password Security Measures You Should Use

Use the following tips to create secure passwords:

Strong Password Creation

  • Do not use personal information…ever! This is especially true for easily recognizable numbers like your address, phone number or birthday etc. 
  • Do not use real words. Password cracking tools are very effective at helping attackers guess your password.
  • Use mixed characters. By combining uppercase letters with lowercase letters, numbers, and special characters such as “@” or “#” you increase the complexity of your password, leaving it more difficult for hackers.
  • Create longer passwords. This also increases your password’s complexity and makes it more difficult to crack.
  • Modify easy-to-remember phrases. For example: “100 Bottles of Beer on the Wall” could become “10oBb0tW”.

Safe Password Storage

  • NEVER write them down. This should go without saying, but stories of hackers ‘dumpster diving’ are alarmingly common.
  • Use a password management tool. One way to store and remember passwords securely is to use a tool that stores your list of usernames and passwords in encrypted form. These will even generate secure passwords for you and can auto-fill your information for you.
  • We would suggest 1Password (https://1password.com/). We can manage this for you as one of our services.

Password Updates & Management

  • Change passwords on a regular basis. We would suggest every month or two.
  • Use different passwords on different accounts. Don’t use the same password on more than one account. If a hacker finds your password, at least it will be contained to one account, not all of them.
  • Do not type passwords on public computers and networks. If you are using a hotspot, try to avoid logging into your accounts as your data could be intercepted over the wireless network or with keystroke logging devices.

Passwords are just one piece of the protection puzzle. To create a safer environment online, you will also want to use a firewall and other security solutions. But using safe password practices is a great first step to staying safe online.