For Password Security, Use a Little Creativity
Online security is important. Much of our daily life is increasingly spent online, working, shopping, online banking, credit card accounts, and communicating with colleagues, friends, and family, to name just a few activities.
As our online activities increase almost daily, password security becomes extremely important. Hackers are constantly working to devise new and devious ways to decipher our passwords and break into both business and personal online accounts and steal our most vital data, including your personal information.
For individuals, one of the biggest threats is identity theft, and to put this problem into perspective, consider these sobering facts. Recent reports indicate that about one-third of Americans have experienced an identity theft threat and in 2021 losses from identity theft in the U.S. totaled about $5.8 billion.
Given this ongoing threat, it’s incumbent on all of us to try to prevent data breaches by devising unique, hard-to-crack passwords, but accomplishing that is easier said than done.
To prevent online criminals from gaining access to and stealing your most important information, here are a few tips for creating strong passwords.
For password security, each of your passwords should have four elements:
- Criminals use all kinds of software to try to figure out passwords, and generally, the longer the password, the more difficult it is to break. Many online security experts recommend using a total of at least 15 letters, characters, and numbers in each password.
- What we’ve said about length also applies to complexity. Make your password complex with a mix of numbers and symbols (&, #, @, etc.). The more complex, the harder it is to break a password, and hackers will often just give up and move on.
- Make sure each password you devise is unique to that particular site or account. One of the worst mistakes you can make is using the same, easily guessed password for multiple sites. If a hacker figures out your lone password, they can access all your accounts that use that same password.
Unfamiliarity (that is, unfamiliar to the hackers):
- The key here is to use something that is familiar to you and easy to remember, but not necessarily to a hacker. A good suggestion is to use a passphrase, such as a line from a favorite book or song.
As an example, let’s say you’re an old-time rock and roll fan and you like Elvis’s great hit from 1956, “Blue Suede Shoes.” Your passphrase might be, “Mybluesuedeshoes1956.”
To make things more complicated for the hacker, you could also substitute symbols and numbers for certain letters, $ for the letter S, 3 for the letter E, or @ for the letter A.
In that case, your passphrase becomes Myblu3$u3d3$hoe$1956. That is by no means a weak password, and the chances are, a hacker is going to have a pretty difficult time cracking that one!
So, to sum up, a good, strong password should have each of these elements, but pay attention to the requirements of each website regarding things like the use of uppercase and lowercase letters, numbers, symbols, and length.
Residential and Commercial Security from Alert Protective Services
We hope you find this password information helpful in protecting you and your family from cyber criminals trying to steal from you. We also hope that for either residential or commercial security services, you will always think first of Alert Protective Services.
For decades we’ve protected homes and businesses throughout the Midwest with a wide array of security measures, including pre-programmed DIY systems you can install yourself, and we’re always glad to provide you with a free security evaluation and quote.