A Password Security Guide for the New Year
According to a recent survey, more than 80% of people use what would be considered “weak” passwords online. Almost one-fifth of these people admit to using their own name or the name of a family member as their password.
Password security is of the utmost importance. Yet, it’s clear that a lot of people don’t take creating passwords as seriously as they should. You need to make sure you have a secure password in place for each of your online accounts.
As we kickstart another new year, now would be the perfect time to create a new password for every online account you have. This will reduce the chances of anyone being able to gain access to your accounts by guessing your passwords or stealing them from you.
Here is a password security guide on creating passwords that will protect all of your online accounts.
Avoid Using Any of the Absolute Worst Passwords
There are lots of lists of the worst possible passwords that you can use. But for whatever reason, people continue to use them despite the fact that they aren’t good options.
Some examples of the worst possible passwords are:
It’ll be very easy to remember each of these passwords. But it’ll also be very easy for someone else to guess them and break into your online accounts with them.
It’s best to avoid using any of the passwords we just mentioned or any passwords that you know are on the simpler side. They aren’t going to do enough to provide your online accounts with the protection they need.
Create Passwords That’ll Be Impossible to Guess
Your goal when creating passwords for your online accounts should always be to go with options that other people wouldn’t even think to guess. Ideally, they should include a nice mix of letters, numbers, and characters. They should also be on the longer side whenever possible.
A password like “password” isn’t going to be any good. But a password like “p2a^s1s%w9o$r3d!” is going to be amazing. There is absolutely no way someone is going to put together that combination of letters, numbers, and characters, even if they spend the next 100 years running through all the different options for your password.
Making your password long is also a good idea. Most online accounts will need to have passwords that are at least seven or eight characters. But you might want to double that and come up with something that’s over 20 characters if you can.
Steer Clear of Using the Same Passwords Over and Over
As long as you create a password for an online account that will be difficult for someone else to guess, you might be under the impression that you can use it for all your various online accounts. But this couldn’t be further from the truth!
Even if you come up with an incredible password that will be impossible to guess, you should only use it for a single website. Otherwise, you’re going to run the risk of giving someone access to a handful of your accounts if they’re ever somehow able to guess your password.
Each online account that you have set up should have its own unique password. This will ensure that all your other accounts stay secure in the event that someone is able to hack into one of your accounts.
Take Advantage of Multi-Factor Authentication
No matter how good you’re able to make your passwords for online accounts, you can never be too careful when it comes to password security. There will always be a small chance that someone could steal a password from you in one way or another.
For this reason, you should use multi-factor authentication on as many websites and online apps as you can. Multi-factor authentication, or MFA, will ask you to provide a password when you’re signing into an online account before then asking you for a special code that will be provided to you through a text message, email, or phone call.
MFA has turned into a very useful tool for those interested in keeping their information safe online. No one will be able to get into one of your online accounts that has MFA turned on without a password and a security code that will come directly to your phone or email inbox.
Refuse to Reveal Your Passwords to Others
It should go without saying that you shouldn’t ever give your password out to people you don’t know. If someone ever approaches you online or calls you on the phone and asks you for a password for an online account, you should tell them no and think about reporting them to the proper authorities for making this request.
But you should also refuse to reveal your passwords to those who you do know. You shouldn’t provide your passwords to your best friend, your neighbour, or even your own parents.
If you start giving out your passwords to your online accounts, there is no telling what might happen to them. Your passwords could very well end up in the wrong hands before everything is all said and done.
If you ever suspect that someone else might have gained access to one or more of your passwords, make it a point to change as many of them as you can. You should be the only one with your passwords in your possession.
Rely On Password Managers to Keep Passwords Straight
There is a good reason why so many people use passwords like “password” as opposed to passwords like “p2a^s1s%w9o$r3d!.” Something like “password” is so much easier to remember.
But you shouldn’t let this stop you from utilizing passwords like “p2a^s1s%w9o$r3d!.” Even though you aren’t going to remember a password like that, you can invest in a password manager that will remember your passwords for you.
You just want to be careful about which password manager you choose. Some are going to be better than others when it comes to keeping your passwords safe.
At the end of 2022, just days before Christmas, LastPass experienced a security breach, and they didn’t handle it very well. They put out a statement regarding the breach, but it flew under the radar because of its timing.
It would have been nice to see LastPass make a more concerted effort to let users know that their passwords might be at risk. But that’s a big part of the reason why we’re bringing it up and letting you know that you should change your passwords at the top of this year.
You should create a new password for each of your online accounts and find a more reliable password manager than LastPass to help you keep track of them all.
We fully recommend the award winning Keeper Security for your password manager.
Update Passwords on a Regular Basis
There is an ongoing debate about how often people should change their passwords these days. Once upon a time, most password security experts suggested doing it every 6 to 12 months.
But nowadays, many of these same experts are telling people that they can go for longer stretches without updating their passwords. The only thing is that people will need to use passwords that are both strong and unique to avoid having to change their passwords so much.
Experts haven’t been able to come to an agreement on just how long people should go in between password changes. But as a general rule of thumb, doing it at the top of each year wouldn’t be a bad idea at all.
The more often you change your password, the more secure it’s going to be. You’ll sleep a whole lot better at night knowing no one is going to be able to break into any of your online accounts because of the password security measures you’ve taken.
This Password Security Guide Can Protect You Online
“New year, new me” is a motto that many people adopt at the start of every year. It can, however, be difficult for people to change up their lifestyles completely after changing out their old calendars for new ones.
It’s not difficult to create new passwords for your online accounts, though, which is why you should do it. You’ll be able to start each new year with passwords that will provide your online accounts with all the password security they’ll need.
Would you like to read more informative articles about keeping your information private online? Look for them while poking around on the rest of our blog.