Ensuring the security of multiple online accounts might seem like a big task, but it’s really important you don’t use the same password for everything.
Data breaches of well-known websites are becoming more common, and using the same password across multiple accounts puts you at risk of cyber-criminals accessing your banking, social media, and other personal information.
Here are some tips for creating strong, unique passwords that will keep your personal information safe online.
- Use long passwords – they’re harder to crack. Aim for eight or more characters.
- Use variety – the greater variety of characters in your password, the better. A strong password will include a combination of lower and upper case letters, a special character (e.g. $, #, *), and a numeral.
- Change your passwords regularly – set an automatic reminder to change them every few months.
- Don’t use the same password for more than one account. If hackers are able to obtain your online password for one account, they can run software to try the same email/password combination for all your other accounts.
- Avoid using common words that can be found in any English or foreign dictionary.
- Avoid words spelled backwards, common misspellings and abbreviations, e.g. koolpassword, retupmoc.
- Don’t use sequences or repeated characters, e.g. 123ABC, qwerty.
- Don’t use any of your personal information, even if it’s easy to remember, e.g. your name, yours or your families birthdays, street name or your passport number.
Some creative solutions to help you keep track of your passwords
Create a short phrase that you’re likely to remember. For example, John Smith will make 30 cakes on Friday. Now, simply take the first character from each word to create your password, where the example would become JSwm30coF. Notice how there is a mixture of upper case, lower case, numerals, and just to be sure, you can put a special character at the end, to create JSwm30coF*.
Another example, Alex Harris can eat 10 hot dogs only on Thursdays, will become AHce10hdooT. Once again, adding a random, special character will add to the strength of your password, so this password becomes #AHce10hdooT. These types of passwords are extremely strong, as they are very long and don’t use common English words.