Your email, social media, bank accounts, credit cards, online stores and so much more are all protected by passwords. Secure, hard-to-hack passwords help to keep your digital life safe from hacking eyes. Here are 3 steps to ramp up your password security.
1. Use a unique email address for passwords only – Forget your password? No problem, simply enter your email address and the site will send you instructions to reset your password. Of course, if a hacker knows your email address from your website, social networks or information gathering sites, they attack that address and use it to easily access your other password protected sites. Instead create a unique, secure email address for password recovery only.
2. Provide extended answers to security questions – Another way to retrieve your password is to answer a series of questions, like the city of your birth, your mother’s maiden name (NEVER give this out), or your first pet. This, of course, is easy to crack for people that know you or have access to your history. Instead, give descriptive, but memorable answers. Like “Chocolate Max” for your dark brown Terrier, or “Hot and Steamy Rio” for your city of birth. Or choose one unique word or phrase and add it to all of your answers, like “The Beatles Max”, or “The Beatles Rio”.
3. A phrase is better than an alpha-numeric password – The most common passwords are “password” and “123456”. You won’t of course, use those, but even that @w3s0me password that you created is not so awesome. Software tools can crack them. Instead, use a phrase, like “Awes0me Ch33zeburger”.
Bonus tip: Use a unique password for each site, even if it’s the same phrase followed by a unique identifier for each login. This will lessen the damage should one password be compromised.