I?ll be the first to admit that when signing up for an account the strength of my password isn?t at the top of my priorities. While I?ll try to think of something that others would have a hard time guessing, ensuring that it?s 100% hack-free doesn?t really seem that important to me.
I?m pretty sure that’s the case for several other people.
The thing is many of us are confident that our passwords can?t be cracked. How could anyone guess that your Facebook password is a combination of you and your spouse?s birthdays or that your PayPal password contains the first letters of your three kids?
Hackers are talented. They?re skillful. It wouldn?t be surprising if they can crack passwords in less than an hour.
And that?s why we need to make sure that our passwords are really strong.
Last year, millions of Adobe user accounts were hacked. More than 100 million passwords were stolen and found their way on the web. It?s unbelievable. And it makes you a little scared about your own account.
This just shows how easy it is for someone–or a group of people–to crack passwords.
If you haven?t paid much attention before, then it?s time to act now. Here are some tips that will help protect your passwords:
Use a different password for each account
It?s not surprising that some would use just one password for multiple accounts. It?s easier because you don?t have to remember different security keys. The problem is if someone hacks into your email, the rest will follow. It?s unwise to use the same password for all your accounts.
Keep changing your passwords so that if someone accidentally finds out what your email password is (you used a public computer, for example) you can keep them from logging in. It?d be better if you update as often as possible.
Use long passwords
This is very elementary. Use 8 or 10-character passwords. Use numbers, letters, symbols, and sprinkle a few upper case letters. As much as possible, refrain from using names of friends and family.
Someone who knows you can quickly figure out the possible combinations. Don?t use birthdays. If you can?t help it, replace some letters with symbols, like @ for A.
Use phrases only you know
One example is the phrase ?trustnoone? and its other variations. In fact, it?s listed as one of the worst passwords for 2013. Think of phrases that not even your friends can figure out.
It?s possible that others can conduct a password recovery on your account if they have the right information. The majority of security questions include information that can be easily retrieved like mother?s maiden name, place of birth, city in which you grew up, favorite book, and others. If someone who knows you is trying to hack into your account, they can easily find the answers. All they need to do is check your Facebook and other online profiles.
If possible, create your own security questions. That will make it extremely difficult for hackers.
Sign up for a password manager
This is the best way to protect your accounts. If you can?t remember all multiple passwords (you sure can?t write them on a paper either) then this is what you need. You only need to remember one password to access the account.
A few examples would be LastPass, Password Genie, Splash ID, Roboform, and Dashlane.
It’s safe to say that passwords are your life especially these times when everything we need is online–banking, work, and even medical records. We have to make sure that our information is safe and secure and the only way to do that is to protect our passwords.
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