The average email address in 2019 is linked with 100+ online accounts. This may seem excessive, however when you take into consideration all your social media accounts, your service accounts (Banking, bill payments, Paypal) Food loyalty programmes, Shopping mailing lists, Travel websites, Booking websites etc. it becomes very clear that many facets of your life are tied into one simple email address, protected all too often by an easy to hack password. A simple password is leaving you vulnerable to cyber-attacks which in turn can threaten you personally as well as financially, but never fear! Below we have mapped out 5 simple steps you can take to improve your passwords.
Make It long
Hackers thrive on short passwords. Traditionally they would just guess a series of letters, numbers and symbols but modernly they run simple programmes which can try thousands of random variations in a matter of hours leaving your data vulnerable. Passwords which are longer are inevitably harder to attack. Many IT specialists tend to agree that passwords between 12 and 14 characters are sufficient but the longer you make it the more secure it will be.
Don’t be obvious
We all know someone who in the past relied on ‘guest’ as their password. This will no longer fly. Neither will ‘1234’ or ‘password’ or ‘qwerty’. Your password in many cases is no longer just an entry to your social media account to like a post, but rather it gets you into your personal emails, files, messages, bank account etc. It is a very real and vulnerable way into your personal life.
Do include as many different characters as you can
The perfect password is a combination of letters (both upper and lower case), numbers and punctuation marks. You can replace letters with similar-looking numbers should it be a phrase (For example ‘3’ in place of the letter ‘E’ or ‘5’ in place of the letter ‘S’). Using a mixture of these will make your password harder to crack.
Too many characters to remember?
Alternative suggestions include stringing together 4 to 6 random words to act as your password. The randomness of these words together along with the length can make them a strong password. Be sure to avoid commonly used words together, such as “footballsComingHome” and instead use more random words, not grammatically correct in order (such as “LemonPinkHulaHoopEight). This approach may be easier for you to remember in place of many numbers and punctuation marks.
Is it really you? Two-Step Verification
Many services these days (from Netflix to Google) have a two-step verification process you can toggle on. This service will send a notification or email to a nominated number or address when you try to log into these services – If you notice any unusual activity you can quickly retract access to that service and change your password securely to block further access. This is also very useful for those who have a tendency to forget their password as they can reset it through their phone or another device.