Password theft can be devastating for both personal accounts and businesses. Whether it’s your Facebook password, credit card account password, or your business’s Quickbooks password, a compromised password can cause massive financial impact, among other things.
Protect Your Passwords From Hackers
Stopping password theft is actually easier than you might think. It begins with getting rid of duplicate passwords and creating stronger passwords with no personal information, and using tools like password managers and multi factor authentication.
Here’s our guide on stopping password theft for good.
1] Don’t Use The Same Passwords
This is a mistake that most people make. The general assumption is that by using the same password, you’ll never forget it; and won’t need tools like password managers. While it’s true that using the same password for everything makes remembering it easier, it also makes hacking every one of your personal accounts infinitely easier for a hacker.
The first step to stopping password theft is eliminating duplicate passwords. If you’re using the same password for more than two accounts, it’s time to log in and change them all. That’s right, all of them. You’ve already compromised yourself and your personal information, and the faster you act, the better.
Choose strong passwords that are unique to each website. Try not to use any of the same numbers or phrases in your passwords. Even something like the same two numbers in each password can be enough to compromise all of them.
2] Don’t Use Personal Info In Passwords
Speaking of which, most people use some kind of familiar number, phrase, name, or some other thing in their passwords.
Birthdays, anniversaries, addresses, or names make for some common passwords and these are the worst things you can use! Imagine someone finding your license on the ground at the store. It contains your full name, birthday, and address.
Now, the thief has your personal information at his or her disposal, and a hint to what your passwords might be! A good hacker can easily figure out a password that uses numbers from birthdays, addresses, or social security numbers.
The best advice is not to use any personal information in your passwords. Make them completely unique to each website. Don’t substitute your personal information for a family member or friend, either.
Some people use their spouse’s birthday or even a child’s birthday, and each of these is just as incriminating as your own birthday. Keep your passwords free of personal info!
3] Use A Password Manager
Password managers are some of the greatest tools available to the public for managing and securing (and generating) passwords. Instead of having passwords stored in Word documents, in your phone, or even written down, try using a free password keeper instead.
These tools will organize and secure your passwords with extra encryption and site-specific options within the interface. When you navigate to sites that are stored within the password manager, you’ll get a prompt to automatically fill in your password via the app.
Not all password management tools are free, but having something is better than nothing. Some of the most powerful password keepers like Keeper and LastPass are free for personal use, and provide that much-needed extra level of security for your passwords.
4] Don’t Ever Give Out Your Password
Amazingly, people give out passwords to sensitive information more freely than they should. A new love interest might gain your Netflix or other streaming service’s password…and your bank information by default. A friend might get access to your social media account, which can be used to log in to hundreds of other accounts.
The bottom line? Do not share your passwords. If someone wants to use your Netflix account, you can log in for them; just be sure to log out once they’re done. It’s not about distrusting people, it’s about not sending your passwords and personal information into the ether.
Even if you trust someone completely, they could absent-mindedly give away your password to their friend or family member, and next thing you know, six people know your password instead of just one. Keep your passwords safe in your possession.
5] Use Strong Passwords
Strong passwords make the difference between securing your information and getting hacked. By using combinations of letters, numbers, and symbols, you’re making it infinitely harder for someone to figure out your password than if you were using personal information like names and dates.
Let’s look at the difference between a great and not-so-great password:
Password 1: john1225 John’s birthday is December 25th. He’s used both his name and his birthday.
Password 2: 3$00Fm#!ssT Notice how this password contains no names or personal information, just a collection of numbers, letters, and symbols….thereby protecting John’s information up to ten times more effectively than if he’d used password #1.
6] Multi Factor Authentication
Combining your password with email or phone number authentication can help you further secure your data in the event of a breach.
Even if a cybercriminal steals your password, the site will require a code from your email or phone before they can gain access to your account.
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- Protect Yourself from Cyber Security Threats.
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- Password Management Tips – Everyone Needs to Know.