Identity thieves do not discriminate. We have spoken about how to create a strong password in previous posts. No matter who you are or where you are, you are a target. Do you want to be a hard or a soft target? Identity thieves are similar to many workers in the world – they don’t want to work, and if they do work, they want it to be easy! They are looking for easy, or soft targets, because stealing that information is quick and requires less work. On the other hand, simply making a couple easy and FREE changes can help you became a hard target. In this series we call “PRO(active) Tips,” we will provide you with some top proactive tips and tricks you can implement today to make yourself a hard target. The first tip is using and creating a strong password to provide stronger protection.
PRO (active) Tip #1: Use Strong Password to Provide Stronger Protection
We’ve all been there, angry at the computer (and probably yelling at it a little) because your login password is incorrect. You swear you know it, I mean of course you do, it’s the same password for all of your online logins, right?! Sound familiar? Our password is the gateway to all of our digital information: banking, email, insurance, shopping, etc. If in the wrong hands, our password could be extremely costly to you and your family. A compromised email account, even if only compromised for a couple hours, can be used by cyber criminals to spread phishing emails and malware to all of your contacts. So how strong is your password? Is it an effective enough idea to make your password a strong password. We previously presented this idea of a strong password being necessary to provide stronger protection in our article “Cyber Security Essentials – 4 Technical Controls You Can Put In Place Today.”
How to Make A Password a Stronger Password
A strong password should be at least 12-15 characters in length and be a combination of lowercase and uppercase letters, numbers and symbols. Your strong password should not contain common names, words or phrases as they can be easily hacked using brute force. Don’t use patterns or ascending/descending numbers (i.e. “qwerty12345”). You should change your passwords often and never use the same strong password. The use of a password manager is a great tool you can implement to help you navigate numerous passwords for websites and logins. Remember, the idea is to never repeat the same password across multiple websites or logins.
How-To Geek suggests:
“The most important thing to remember here is that the words need to be random. For example, “cat in the hat” would be a terrible combination because it’s such a common phrase and the words make sense together. “my beautiful red house” would also be bad because the words make grammatical and logical sense together. But, something like “correct horse battery staple” or “seashell glaring molasses invisible” is random. The words don’t make sense together and aren’t in grammatically correct order, which is good.” A link to the above How-To Geek article can be found here.
Why Do I Need a Strong Password for Stronger Protection?
Malicious actors typically steal hundreds or even thousands of login credentials at a time and then sell them in bulk on the dark web. From the day a login credential is stolen until the day it’s maliciously used could be days, weeks or even months. Changing your strong passwords frequently lessens the likelihood your stolen password will still be good by the time it’s used by the bad guys.
Together we are going to make you the hardest target possible, and starting with thesetips on how to create a strong password is key. As we have all learned recently, having only a strong password isn’t enough to protect you from cyber criminals. Follow me each week as I uncover a new PRO (active) tip that you can implement easily on your own!
If you want to encrypt your family or business passwords, Griffin’s SourceONE™ managed security services has Identity Protection, which will even further enhance your password posture.