Passwords are integrated in our daily lives. We have passwords for online banking, email, social media accounts, driving services and food services. We even have passwords for our passwords! Since so many things require a username and password, we can often fall into the bad habit of reusing the same credentials for multiple platforms.
Not only are usernames and passwords reused across multiple sites, they are typically short and simple. Cybercriminals use automated tools to crack simple passwords in a matter of minutes. Their attempts stall, however, with longer passwords – the longer the password, the more difficult it is to crack.
To increase security, we recommend passphrases, which are a sequence of words, a sentence (spaces included!) or an acronym. Passphrases not only enhance security, but they help increase memorability, as well. Another method is to use random password generators – you can just specify the length and complexity of a password without having to create it yourself.
Regardless of the approach you choose — strong passwords, phrases or generated passwords — password managers are handy! These online vaults for your login information are encrypted. Unsurprisingly, the key to password manager security is a strong password for your password manager. That limits you to having to remember one strong password to gain access to the rest of your credentials!
- DON’T reuse the same username and password for all accounts. Cybercriminals take known combinations of usernames and passwords and try them in as many online account platforms as possible.
- DON’T use short and simple passwords. It is also best to refrain from using personal information in your password, such as your birth year, pets’ names, children’s names, etc. This information can be easily searchable.
- DON’T write down your passwords or share them with others; doing so means forfeiting control of your identity and data.
- DO use a unique username and password combination for ALL online platforms.
- DO increase the length of your passwords.
- DO consider using a password manager. Password managers can help you create, manage and use strong and unique passwords.