Personal Password Security

Posted by Kylie Thompson on Oct 31, 2018 3:06:23 PM

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Password Security

Are you still using a simple password for your online banking or email account? Or, using 12345 or password1? If so, you need to change it right away to protect your confidential information. Passwords are an easy way for criminals to covertly access your information if not updated from the default or if passwords are too simple. These passwords can make it easy for data thieves to break in.

Simple password checklist:

Are you using a simple password? Do you require a password change? Use the following checklist below to determine if you are using a simple password:

  • Is the password used on any other systems or websites? e. email and online banking
  • Is the password less than 16 characters?
  • Is the password only letters?
  • Is the password a dictionary word or a variation of it? i.e. monk3y, w@lrus, p1neapp7e
  • Does the password contain personal information? ie. Mother’s maiden name, phone number

If you checked any of the boxes above, you are using too simple of a password. You need to change it immediately. You should use a secure password that is unique for all systems you use.

Creating Secure Passwords:

The idea of changing your passwords may be overwhelming. You want it to be something easy for you to remember, while also keeping unwanted predators out. Complex passwords don’t have to be complicated. Use the tool below to generate a secure password:

  1. Think of four words: _________________________________________________
  2. Place a space or symbol between each word: _____________________________
  3. Capitalize and/or swap with a symbol the middle letter of each of the word: __________________________________________________________________
  4. This is now your new and secure password.

Enabling Multi-Factor Authentication

Once you’ve created a password, you can add an extra layer of security by enabling 2-Step Verification. 2-Step Verification requires you to have access to your phone or token, as well as your username and password, when you sign into your account. This means that if someone steals or guesses your password, they still can't sign in to your account because they don't have your phone or token. Now you can protect yourself with something you know (your password) and something you have (your phone or token).

Google, Apple, Facebook, Twitter, Microsoft, Yahoo, LinkedIn, and WordPress are only a small portion of the companies supporting 2-Step Verification. For every service you use that supports it, you should head over and enable two-factor authentication right now—it's one of the best ways to keep your data (and in many cases, your money) safe. Of course, you should also make sure you use a unique, secure password for each of your accounts, so if you don't, now is a good time to change that as well.

Most systems have 2-Step Verification listed in the settings panel as MFA, Multi-factor Authentication, 2FA, etc. For a video on 2-Step Verification visit https://youtu.be/zMabEyrtPRg