If you use the same password for everything or your favorite password is LetMeIn, you’re doing it wrong. To safeguard against identity theft and other cyber crime, pay attention to password security. The following are 5 ways to make your passwords hack resistant:
- Never use personal information in a password. That would include your name, birthday, Social Security Number or anything that hackers can socially engineer from your Facebook account, for example.
- Use longer passwords with eight or more characters. Lengthy passwords are more resistant to brute-force attacks.
- Do not use plain English dictionary words. Hackers rely on electronic dictionaries to crack passwords. If you must access a service with an easy-to-remember password, try using random characters with the first letters of a saying or poem. For example: @RaRvAbTpIhBiKiT# (“@Roses are red/Violets are blue/This password is hard/But I know it, Too.#”).
- Go the dual route. When available on a service you access, go for using both a traditional password with some other follow-up authentication that a thief cannot access or use. This could be anything from providing a PIN or answering a personal question. As an additional safeguard, use a ridiculous answer to a personal authentication question. Example: Q: What is the name of the city in which you were married? A: Lower Slobovia.
- Create obscure, mixed character passwords. Mixing upper and lower case letters, numbers and special characters and creating a distinct password for each service you access all add obstacles to hackers. Consider using password manager software like 1Password to simplify your password management.
Finally, don’t disclose your passwords to anyone. It is also a very good idea to have a printed list of your passwords locked away in a secure place away from your computer monitor and your desk.
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