15 Tips To Create Stronger Passwords

Cyber SecurityQuestion #1: how many passwords do you have? That probably depends at least partially on what you do for a living. I build, optimize and maintain websites and the online/social presence for my own business’s as well as my customer’s so I have about a million or so. At least it seems like it! It can be hard to keep up with and remember online passwords and it always seems like a real pain in the back side just to get logged in to something. So – what do we do? That’s a silly question, huh? We make them easy to remember and easy to type in, of course! The problem with that is it also makes it easier for hackers to figure out and type in, too.

Question #2: do you need to worry about that? I mean, after all, Joe Average doesn’t have all that much to steal so surely the hackers are looking for bigger fish, right? Let me fry your mind real quick: Symantec – the folks behind the popular internet security service Norton – says that cryptojacking attacks exploded by 8,500% in 2017. That’s an increase of Eight Thousand Five Hundred Percent! In one year. The reality is that, though we small fish may have less than the big fish, there are MANY more of us and we don’t usually have access to the same level of cyber security that the rich and famous do. So you bet you need to pay attention. Lifelock reports that there is a new victim of identity theft every 2 seconds! That’s crazy.

Question #3: what can we do about it? A lot of that will depend on exactly what it is that each individual does online. What type of websites we log in to. What sort of accounts we access online and which devices we use to access them. Do you use a wireless network often? Wireless networks are generally less secure than a hard-wired connection, so it does matter. Though there are many factors that are unique to each of us, one thing is pretty consistent: stronger passwords make a real difference in one’s online security. Here are 15 stronger password tips that can be applied right now:

  1. Make your passwords long. I mean really long. Never use a password with less than eight characters, but a minimum of fifteen is recommended. I know it’s a pain to type in but I promise it’s easier that trying to reclaim your identity.
  2. Avoid commonly used phrases. Believe it or not, one of the more commonly used passwords is ‘password’. That ain’t foolin’ nobody.
  3. Use a combination of upper and lower case letters along with numbers. And don’t restrict the upper case letters to the normal stuff like the the first letter of the password or of a common name, city, etc. Stick them in the middle where they don’t appear normal.
  4. Don’t use terms that are personally identifiable such as your name, nickname, birth date, address, etc. This sort of information is often easily found on social media accounts and other places on the internet.
  5. Add special characters such as !, &, >, etc.
  6. Misspelling common words is an excellent way to make the new password more memorable for you. For instance, instead of using the phrase ‘strongerpasswords’ you could opt for something like ‘$tr0nG{rp@$$w00Rd$’.
  7. Don’t use the same password for everything that you sign in to. If a hacker does figure it out, he’ll have access to everything. A unique password for each account limits a successful hack to one account.
  8. Change your passwords regularly – at least on a quarterly schedule. Some hackers use password guessing software that literally goes through different combinations of letters, numbers and special characters until they get it right. Changing the password basically forces them to start over from square one.
  9. Never share your passwords with anyone. Even if you totally trust them. What if they get hacked?
  10. Use multi-factor authentication when available. This makes it twice as secure and is definitely the future.
  11. Use a password manager if you need to deal with lots of different passwords. I use Last Pass and love it. You do, however, still need to utilize all of these tips to keep your online identity safe. The password manager just makes your life a lot easier on a day to day basis.
  12. Use a strong and secure email account. I use Google G Suite for all of my business email, but a free gmail account works well, too. Google ‘s email platform is one of the easiest to use and has great spam filters. Never respond to an email from someone you don’t know if they are asking for any personal info and use the spam blocking filter to keep them from spamming you on a daily basis.
  13. If you have a website, security is extremely important there, as well. Passwords are needed to manage and update your website and all of these tips should be used there, too. Many of the software, plugin and theme updates for a website are security related so site maintenance is critical.
  14. Protect your passwords when using them in public. Really good crooks are really good at being sneaky so cover the keypad when typing in a password.
  15. Don’t use the auto fill feature in your browser. If someone gains access to your computer they’ll have access to everything you’ve saved, too.

The bottom line is that we all need to protect our identities online because nobody else is gonna do it for us. Large corporations – the very one’s who have our personal info in their databases – are being hacked on a regular basis. Be careful who you give your info to and be vigilant on a personal level every day and maybe you won’t be the next one who gets hacked.

I hope this article helps you have stronger passwords and better overall online security. And I hope that if you need help with your website and/or online presence you’ll consider Websites That Work as your online solution. Please share – Thanks!

John Goldshot

15 Tips To Create Stronger Passwords

Cyber SecurityQuestion #1: how many passwords do you have? That probably depends at least partially on what you do for a living. I build, optimize and maintain websites and the online/social presence for my own business’s as well as my customer’s so I have about a million or so. At least it seems like it! It can be hard to keep up with and remember online passwords and it always seems like a real pain in the back side just to get logged in to something. So – what do we do? That’s a silly question, huh? We make them easy to remember and easy to type in, of course! The problem with that is it also makes it easier for hackers to figure out and type in, too.

Question #2: do you need to worry about that? I mean, after all, Joe Average doesn’t have all that much to steal so surely the hackers are looking for bigger fish, right? Let me fry your mind real quick: Symantec – the folks behind the popular internet security service Norton – says that cryptojacking attacks exploded by 8,500% in 2017. That’s an increase of Eight Thousand Five Hundred Percent! In one year. The reality is that, though we small fish may have less than the big fish, there are MANY more of us and we don’t usually have access to the same level of cyber security that the rich and famous do. So you bet you need to pay attention. Lifelock reports that there is a new victim of identity theft every 2 seconds! That’s crazy.

Question #3: what can we do about it? A lot of that will depend on exactly what it is that each individual does online. What type of websites we log in to. What sort of accounts we access online and which devices we use to access them. Do you use a wireless network often? Wireless networks are generally less secure than a hard-wired connection, so it does matter. Though there are many factors that are unique to each of us, one thing is pretty consistent: stronger passwords make a real difference in one’s online security. Here are 15 stronger password tips that can be applied right now:

  1. Make your passwords long. I mean really long. Never use a password with less than eight characters, but a minimum of fifteen is recommended. I know it’s a pain to type in but I promise it’s easier that trying to reclaim your identity.
  2. Avoid commonly used phrases. Believe it or not, one of the more commonly used passwords is ‘password’. That ain’t foolin’ nobody.
  3. Use a combination of upper and lower case letters along with numbers. And don’t restrict the upper case letters to the normal stuff like the the first letter of the password or of a common name, city, etc. Stick them in the middle where they don’t appear normal.
  4. Don’t use terms that are personally identifiable such as your name, nickname, birth date, address, etc. This sort of information is often easily found on social media accounts and other places on the internet.
  5. Add special characters such as !, &, >, etc.
  6. Misspelling common words is an excellent way to make the new password more memorable for you. For instance, instead of using the phrase ‘strongerpasswords’ you could opt for something like ‘$tr0nG{rp@$$w00Rd$’.
  7. Don’t use the same password for everything that you sign in to. If a hacker does figure it out, he’ll have access to everything. A unique password for each account limits a successful hack to one account.
  8. Change your passwords regularly – at least on a quarterly schedule. Some hackers use password guessing software that literally goes through different combinations of letters, numbers and special characters until they get it right. Changing the password basically forces them to start over from square one.
  9. Never share your passwords with anyone. Even if you totally trust them. What if they get hacked?
  10. Use multi-factor authentication when available. This makes it twice as secure and is definitely the future.
  11. Use a password manager if you need to deal with lots of different passwords. I use Last Pass and love it. You do, however, still need to utilize all of these tips to keep your online identity safe. The password manager just makes your life a lot easier on a day to day basis.
  12. Use a strong and secure email account. I use Google G Suite for all of my business email, but a free gmail account works well, too. Google ‘s email platform is one of the easiest to use and has great spam filters. Never respond to an email from someone you don’t know if they are asking for any personal info and use the spam blocking filter to keep them from spamming you on a daily basis.
  13. If you have a website, security is extremely important there, as well. Passwords are needed to manage and update your website and all of these tips should be used there, too. Many of the software, plugin and theme updates for a website are security related so site maintenance is critical.
  14. Protect your passwords when using them in public. Really good crooks are really good at being sneaky so cover the keypad when typing in a password.
  15. Don’t use the auto fill feature in your browser. If someone gains access to your computer they’ll have access to everything you’ve saved, too.

The bottom line is that we all need to protect our identities online because nobody else is gonna do it for us. Large corporations – the very one’s who have our personal info in their databases – are being hacked on a regular basis. Be careful who you give your info to and be vigilant on a personal level every day and maybe you won’t be the next one who gets hacked.

I hope this article helps you have stronger passwords and better overall online security. And I hope that if you need help with your website and/or online presence you’ll consider Websites That Work as your online solution. Please share – Thanks!

John Goldshot

Cyber Security Tips

2018-11-01T06:24:59+00:00