I’m reading a spine-chilling novel about a woman, Laurel, who is being held captive by her deranged husband because he suspects she is being unfaithful. I’m at the part where he accesses her computer and finds a secret email account. She won’t give him the password so he downloads a computer program that will crack the password. Within hours, he gains entry to her email account.
That’s when I thought of you!
How safe are all those online accounts you have? Do you use your pet’s name because it is easy to remember? That, my friend, is a mistake.
In a recent survey, 40% of respondents said they have had an account hacked, a password stolen, or had their personal information compromised.
The bad guys are getting smarter and the tools they use are more readily available.
Not only is protecting your data important to you personally, it is critical you keep client data safe and secure. Tweet that!
Here are five steps to create crack-proof passwords.
1. Make it long
When it comes to passwords, the longer the better because it makes it more difficult for the bad guys to crack. Always make it longer than the minimum characters requested.
2. Make it complicated
Avoid using dictionary words, names, and proper nouns. These are all likely in the database a password cracker would use. If possible, intermingle symbols with letters.
3. Use different passwords
Using one password for all, or multiple sites, opens you up to massive risk. If one of your sites gets hacked, you’ve given the bad guy the master key to all of your other sites.
4. Use a password manager
Using a password manager like LastPass ensures you are able to easily create, use, and recall long, strong, and unique passwords for every website and app you use.
5. Change your passwords often
There is one more step to keep the bad guys away. Change your passwords at least once per year. Did you know 21% of people use passwords that are 10 years old and 47% of people use passwords that are 5 years old?
If only Laurel had followed these five steps to creating a crack-proof password for her email account. Maybe the story would have had a much different ending.