Ignoring those pesky reminders to change your passwords for your online accounts regularly may be convenient - but it certainly isnt safe.
Our AFM paraplanner Elizabeth Schleifer offers some easy ways to make sure your information is secure, whether you're online banking or scrolling through Facebook.
With the recent security breaches and all of the hackers floating around, keeping your password safe is more important than ever. With so many potential victims, cybercriminals tend to go after the easiest target. If you have a strong password, this usually adds a high enough level of complexity that they will move on to a more susceptible victim. The password tips below will help keep your passwords and your information safe.
The natural next question here, is what makes a strong password? Good passwords have a minimum of 10 characters, using a combination of upper and lower case letters, numbers, symbols and punctuation marks. A general rule of thumb here is to avoid using any information that might already be public, such as family names, pet names or important dates (ex: birthdays). A good tip for coming up with a password is thinking of a phrase that you can easily remember, maybe from a song or book, and using the first letter from each word to create a passphrase.
It is also a good idea to make unique passwords for each account you have. Hackers know that many individuals have one password across all of their accounts, so once they get ahold of a password, they usually try them everywhere. Unfortunately, they usually succeed.
With the technological shift of our society to online accounts, it seems impossible to remember complex and unique passwords for all of your accounts. For this, we recommend using a password manager. A password manager is an online service that safely stores all of your passwords. This allows you to set up one single password that you can use to access all of your other account passwords. These websites will encrypt your information and passwords, and sometimes even help you generate complex passwords for your accounts. Here at AFM, we use LastPass, but there are also some other options you can consider here.
Another practice we use here at AFM to keep our information secure is multi-factor authentication (MFA). This is just a quick and easy extra step to verify your information when logging into your accounts. The most common example of MFA is when you are texted a verification code that you have to enter before logging in. To learn more about which websites offer MFA, visit https://twofactorauth.org/.
Our last tip for you to keep your passwords and information safe is to change your passwords regularly. For sensitive accounts, a good rule of thumb is to change your password every six months. This is something you can do on your own, or something that can be done more easily with a password manager discussed above. Any little step that you can take to protect your passwords and your information is worth the extra effort!
-Presented by Elizabeth Schleifer, Paraplanner