Passwords are some of the most important parts of our accounts. Passwords are what safeguards some of our most valuable information such as bank accounts, emails and even social media accounts that contain sensitive personal information.
Many people believe that their passwords are good enough if they simply follow the guidelines provided by the website when creating their new passwords. However, passwords can easily be stolen if they are not strong enough.
If a cybercriminal is able to get hold of your passwords you could be in a lot of trouble. To avoid your passwords being stolen there are three simple rules you must follow to ensure that your passwords are strong enough, read on to find out what they are.
The Risks of Using Weak Passwords
Using weak passwords can put your accounts at risk of being breached by a skilled cybercriminal. If your passwords are easy to guess you may find that hackers will be able to break into your accounts.
Weak passwords are often made up of words, numbers or phrases that relate to you personally. For example, many people will use their names or their date of birth as a password.
While this might be easy to remember, a skilled hacker can crack this password with some basic research and a few guesses. The problem with these passwords is that your personal information could be readily available on the internet in one form or another.
For example, your personal information such as your names and date of birth can be found on social media websites. If your accounts are not set to private then anyone will be able to see this information on your profile.
Another way that cybercriminals are able to get hold of this information is if they buy it from other companies. When you sign up to websites and provide them with your information they might sell it to a third-party. Oftentimes they will sell your information to other companies who will be able to market their products and services to you. This is how you can sometimes find some marketing emails from companies that you never signed up for.
People will often use the same passwords for multiple different accounts. This is another mistake that people make that can put their accounts at risk of being hacked. If you use the same password multiple times it makes the hacker’s job much easier. They will simply use the same password, or a variation of the same password to break into your other accounts.
This means that if one of your account’s passwords has been stolen there is a risk of your other accounts also being hacked. The problem is that you might not know which accounts are at risk, so you will be frantically trying to change all of your passwords before the hacker breaches more accounts.
There are three basic rules that you must follow when it comes to creating passwords. If you follow these rules then you don’t have to worry about your passwords being stolen and your accounts being at risk.
Create Strong Passwords
The first rule is to create strong passwords. Strong passwords are made up of words, phrases, letters, numbers or symbols that do not relate to you in any way. Research has shown that the strongest passwords are made up of words, letters and numbers that have been randomly generated. Don’t worry about remembering your passwords for now, we will cover that later on.
Create Unique Passwords
Another rule that you must follow is to create unique passwords. This means that each account that you have must have a different password. None of your passwords can be the same or even similar. If you have similar passwords for all of your accounts there is a risk that a cybercriminal is able to guess them based on one of your other passwords.
Use Login Notifications
Login notifications are security features that are offered on many accounts on the internet. However, people can sometimes overlook this feature because they believe that they do not need to be notified whenever they log in to their account. Login notifications can be extremely helpful because it will give you a warning as soon as your account has been breached. Whenever a new device logs in from a different location you will receive an email notification. If you receive this notification and you did not log in to your account you know that you must take action immediately. This can save you precious time to try and recover and protect your account as quickly as possible.
How to Remember Your Passwords
If you’re creating strong and unique passwords you may be wondering how you’re going to remember them. Your passwords will be difficult to remember because they are all different and they do not relate to your personal information.
Thus, it might be tempting to use the password manager on your browser to save your passwords and keep track of them. However, the default password manager on your browser is not secure, and a skilled cybercriminal is able to hack into it and steal all your passwords with ease.
You should consider using a premium third-party password manager to keep track of your passwords. These password managers are significantly more secure as they require a master key in order to gain access to your passwords. The master key is randomly generated by the application and sent to your email address, which means that you are the only person that has access to this master key, making it even more secure.