Creating a strong password is a major key to your online security these days. When hackers crack your password, they can clear out all of your contacts and create a new password to lock you out.
There are no set rules for passwords, but most sites advise that users go with an 8 to 12 character password, with one upper case character and one number. More and more sites today are recommending the use of symbols and a mixture of characters to go with it.
The longer the password and the better the mixture makes it tougher to steal for hackers. It also makes it more difficult to remember. A running joke has circulated around the Internet regarding the new complexity of passwords:
The password selected is cabbage.
Sorry, the password must be more than 8 characters.
Sorry, the password must contain 1 numerical character.
1 boiled cabbage.
Sorry, the password cannot have blank spaces.
Sorry, the password must contain at least one upper case character.
Sorry, the password cannot use more than one upper case letter consecutively.
Sorry, the password cannot contain punctuation.
Sorry, that password is already in use.
Difficult as it may be to reach some sites, they are looking out for your security when they ask for longer passwords. We’ve found other ways to protect your password:
1) Use a password manager to protect your interests.
A password manager takes care of your website accounts for you. They encrypt the login information for your accounts and give you back a master password- the only one you need to remember to gain access. Better known password managers include LastPass, RoboForm, and 1Password.
2.) Go long. Use a phrase or sentence.
You’ll improve the security of your password by making it longer. You can use quotes, sayings, song lyrics, and a whole lot more. Don’t make your password too easy to figure out.
3.) Add two-step verification to your account.
Doing the two-step, you sign in with your password and a verification code that is sent to your phone. If your password is stolen, a thief can’t access your information without entering your verification code. Google, Apple, Dropbox, and Facebook offer the service.
Sometimes despite all you do to protect your password, a hacker still gets it. In that case, you need to:
1.) Change your password on other websites.
You want to do this on sites where you are using the same user name and password combination. It’s wise to use different passwords and user names on separate sites to avoid having more accounts compromised.
2.) Check your bills, credit cards and bank statements.
Be sure to check your reports for any unusual looking activity. You should be able to recognize your bills, and visit AnnualCreditReport.com to get a free credit report. If you pay all of your bills online, you may need to contact a lot of people, but call the companies that may be involved if your account has been hacked.
3.) Be careful of public PCs.
If you’re working on the road, many PCs you encounter might be infected with a virus. A lot of those PCs are not often checked by their owners, or cleaned of infections regularly.
Start by coming up with the strongest password you can, and your accounts will be a lot more secure. But according to password security application provider SplashData, the top 5 most popular passwords from 2014 were: 1.) 123456, 2.) password, 3.)12345, 4.) 12345678, and 5.) qwerty.
“Cabbage” is starting to look smarter. We can do better.