October is Cyber-Security Awareness Month! Take this opportunity to review and improve practices around issues of online security.
Secure passwords are your best line of defense against online hackers. Maintaining unique and strong passwords that are changed frequently greatly reduces your likelihood of a security breach.
Tips on Creating Secure Passwords
National Cyber Security Alliance (NCSA) provided some tips regarding password security through their National Cyber Security Awareness Month campaign via Stop. Think. Connect. They recommend the following ways to protect your personal information:
- Lock down your login: Fortify your online accounts by enabling the strongest authentication tools available, such as biometrics, security keys or a unique one-time code through an app on your mobile device. Your usernames and passwords are not enough to protect key accounts like email, banking and social media.
- Make your password a sentence: A strong password is a sentence that is at least 12 characters long. Focus on positive sentences or phrases that you like to think about and are easy to remember (for example, “I love country music.”). On many sites, you can even use spaces!
- Unique account, unique password: Having separate passwords for every account helps to thwart cybercriminals. At a minimum, separate your work and personal accounts and make sure that your critical accounts have the strongest passwords.
- Write it down and keep it safe: Everyone can forget a password. Keep a list that’s stored in a safe, secure place away from your computer. You can alternatively use a service like a password manager to keep track of your passwords.
- Remember to also protect your mobile devices: The first layer to mobile security is to lock your device with a password or touch ID. These features make it much more difficult for your information to be accessed if your device is lost or stolen.
For ideas on how to make your passwords more secure, view this short video from ESET