Do you use the same passwords for all your online accounts? Or maybe you have two or three passwords that you use on rotation? Is your password your date or birth, pets name or “password123”? If you answered YES to any of these questions, you need to take action.
Using the same passwords for everything is akin to using the one key for your house, car, safe deposit box, office and postbox!
What can you do to make your online accounts secure?
Unique passwords for each of your online accounts. Yes. Different passwords for every account. I’m not joking. If one of your online accounts is compromised, then any other account with the same password is at risk.
Strong passwords. You need a mixture of letters (UPPER and lower), numbers and special characters (*%&#@!) Current opinion from online security experts is that your password should be long (harder to crack) and not include any personal information, words from the dictionary or place names.
Use a password application to manage and store them. Most of these apps are accessed by one “master” password, so you actually only need to remember one password. Here are three applications that will securely store your passwords.
- Dashlane – free for 50 passwords saved on one device.
- 1Password – $3USD per month for unlimited passwords and devices.
- Lastpass – $2USD per month for unlimited passwords and devices.
If you write down your passwords, keep the notebook somewhere secure. Like a safe or lockable drawer that is accessible via key or code. Don’t leave them written on post-it notes on your desk.
If available, enable Two-Factor Authentication. This is where you enter your email address and then receive a text message, type in a pin number or use your fingerprint to complete the login process.
Use a password creation tool. Some anti-virus software programs offer password creators, as do the three password applications mentioned above. There are also websites you can use to generate random passwords, you just need to record them somewhere safe. This article suggests four ways to create unique and more importantly, memorable passwords.
What now? Make a list of your online accounts and make an effort to change the passwords you think are weak and need changing and then get started.