A good password is essential to feeling secure on the Internet. Unfortunately, many users don’t realise that cybercriminals will have no problem cracking any password. That’s why we hear about hacked bank accounts, social media profiles or mailboxes. However, these sites often contain information that we don’t want to make public. In this article, we will show you some ways to create a strong password to protect your important data.
Online threats: why do you need a strong password?
Imagine a cybercriminal cracking your short and simple password to access your email or bank. You’re likely to accept every SMS transfer request, but we can send large transfer information to your email address each time and send you monthly statements with your balance and amount. This way, the attacker can assess your balance and decide whether or not it’s worth scamming you. These emails also contain key information needed to move on to the next step of stealing your money.
The following scenarios are subject to change. They could impersonate you and call your bank’s helpline to change your bank account phone number (after collecting the information needed to authorise the transaction), or they could create a fake SIM card with your number so that cybercriminals receive an SMS with the code needed to authorise the transaction.
The more complex the passwords you use, the more protected you are against cybercriminals. Unfortunately, many people use short, easy-to-remember passwords for convenience and completely underestimate the risk. This will have consequences for the future.
How can you create a secure password and what do you need to consider?
First of all, you should know that if you don’t set good passwords, you are helping cybercriminals to break into your bank, your email or your Facebook. But if you don’t want that to happen, read the following tips and put them into practice:
1. Don’t use the same password for all your accounts.
Do not use all passwords for all your accounts. If you use the same passwords everywhere and a cybercriminal finds them on one of your accounts, you can be sure that they will break in wherever they can and access information that should be confidential. Always set different passwords for each account you log into.
2. Set a strong password
More and more sites you want to sign up to verify the passwords you want to use. Fortunately, these sites don’t penalise you for choosing weak passwords. Remember that a strong password should be at least 12 characters long and the more characters the better. It should contain a lowercase and an uppercase letter, a number and a special character. It is best to use a complex string.
3. Browser passwords should not be saved.
This is, of course, very convenient. But if someone is listening to your computer or phone, they can easily access all your accounts. It’s best to carry your passwords with you or use a password manager that creates and stores a strong password for you. And you can feel safe.
4. Use of two-step verification.
Whenever possible, always choose a 2-step connection. Instead of entering a password, enter a code received by SMS or e-mail. If somebody wants to log in to your account, they must also be able to access the device with the code in this way. Google Authenticator is one of the 2-step authentication methods.
5. Do not send passwords via email or SMS.
No organisation can ask you to send your login details over the internet. If you receive such a message, you can assume that it is not a “trusted” employee of the organisation, but probably a fraudster trying to access your data.
Is there anything else I should know about password security? You can always get in touch with Atlantek Broadband staff or continue reading the article!
Do not enter your password when you are with strangers.
Trust is trust, but you never know if someone is trying to break into your account. So use it when you’re alone. Also, make sure no one is behind you at the login screen.
Use legitimate antivirus software, like Avast antivirus which you can get installed in Atlantek Computers shop in Ballina or Belmullet.
All the devices you use should be protected by legitimate antivirus software. And use bank protection or VPN to be completely anonymous online.
Make sure passwords are not leaked.
There are a number of trusted websites on the internet (e.g. https://haveibeenpwned.com) that will let you know if your password has been compromised. It’s a good idea to check these from time to time. It is advisable to change all passwords to new, secure passwords as soon as you become aware that your emails have been compromised.
Some other tips.
At least once a year, change the passwords for important sites, such as your bank or your main email page.
Don’t install a double keyboard or colour keyboard themes on your smartphone. They can store the passwords you enter and give them to cybercriminals.
Don’t store important passwords in plain text files on your computer or smartphone.
Do not leave important passwords on a piece of paper next to your computer or keyboard.
Don’t keep paper with important passwords in your wallet.