Your passwords are the access key to everything you do online, but they’re only as secure as you make them to be. You wouldn’t just leave your front door unlocked or tell strangers the key is under the rock in your garden, so don’t make it easy for strangers to get into your stuff online. A strong password is that key and a major component to keeping people out. Experts always state over and over again to use a strong password, but what does that really mean? With cybercrime higher than ever, now is the time to reassess your passwords. No matter your internet service or device, whether it be on Verizon, GotW3, HughesNet, or AT&T, here are the five most important things you need to consider to make the best online passwords.
1. The Longer, The Better
Experts don’t agree on exactly how long a password should be, but it is recommended that you choose a password that is a minimum of 8 to 12 characters. If you can remember a longer password, the longer the password, the better it is. A longer password alone may not keep a hacker out, but it will certainly take it longer for them to get in.
2. Choose A Unique Password Every Time
It may sound really inconvenient, but part of keeping all of your online accounts secure is choosing a unique password for every individual account. Don’t reuse or recycle old passwords if you can help it and definitely do not use the same one of two passwords for all of your online accounts. The more you diversify your passwords, the more secure your online accounts will be if one gets compromised.
3. Use Special Characters & Numbers
Using a mix of special characters, numbers, upper and lower case numbers will make your password better, stronger and harder to hack. However, it isn’t enough to use special characters and numbers alone. To make sure they’re really strong; don’t rely on common substitutions or obvious combinations. Use special characters and numbers in unexpected ways, but memorable enough for your use only.
4. Avoid Using Passwords With Personal Information
To keep your online accounts more secure, do not use personal information within your passwords and be mindful of what you share online. Passwords with personal information are easier for hackers to guess whether you personally know the hacker or not. Unfortunately it’s easy for hackers to find your personal information online if they really want to and they will get in if they have to.
5. Avoid Using Popular Passwords
When hackers try to get into personal accounts, the first thing they’ll try is using the most popular passwords of the year. Part of choosing a unique password is one that you come up with all on your own. When you choose a password that isn’t obvious, easy to guess or popular; it’ll make your password much harder to bypass.
When possible, it’s also a smart idea to set up a two factor identification password. It’s an extra layer of security to really ensure you’re the only person who can get into your account, even if hackers have figured out how to get in. If set up, the account you’re trying to get into will send a special pin code to your cell phone that you’ll have to type in first before your actual password.