October is Cybersecurity Awareness Month and this article features important password best practices and safety tips provided by our very own IT Specialist, Ian Schisel.
Everything from online banking, entertainment services, and online ordering requires a username and password. It is crucial to understand how to manage and secure your accounts. Follow along with these 6 password best practices:
- Never use the same password twice. Imagine that the key that unlocks your house also opens your car. It’s better to have different keys for different locks. If a hacker can use one password to get into your account, make it harder for them to get into another by having separate passwords.
- Keep your passwords complex. Complexity doesn’t always have to mean difficult to remember; longer = stronger. The good idea is to keep passwords 12 or more characters in length. Keeping your passwords relevant to you makes them easier to remember. Using a favorite quote, part of a song, or a series of words that mean something to you can be just as safe as “ab234lj!*jki”. Tip: Try abbreviating a phrase to help build a secure, memorable password. ( Ex. I Love banking at Bank First! = ILobaatBaFi! )
- Keep passwords updated. Changing your passwords can keep hackers on their toes; however, it can also adversely affect you. Most notably, confusion. Try changing your password once or twice a year. February 1st each year is National Change Your Password Day!
- Keep on the lookout for data breaches. More than ever, companies are releasing news of a data breach. Be on the lookout for companies with which you might have accounts. If you do business with one of these companies, make sure to change the password associated with the account immediately!
- Enable Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA)! Enabling Multi-Factor or Two Factor Authentication can stop hackers dead in their tracks. Multifactor turns your login into not only something you know (Your password) but also something you have (your phone or a token).
- Secure your passwords. Once you have your password created, it can be challenging to remember all of them. Writing passwords down can be difficult to keep track of and is highly unsecure. Sticky notes on the monitor or the bottom of your keyboard can be viewed by anyone sly enough to look. Do yourself a favor and use a password manager. A simple internet search will show you dozens of password manager options. Research and choose which one is right for you!