The Truth About Password Security and How to Keep Your Accounts Safe
You need a password for everything these days. It feels like such a hassle, but if you have ever experienced the fear and frustration of having an account hacked, then you know how much passwords matter. The truth is that you need passwords, and they need to be secure, so here are four trade secrets that can help you keep your accounts safe.
The Longer the Better
It seems pretty obvious that a long password would be better than a shorter password, but you should know adding just a few extra characters to a password can make a huge difference.
For instance, let’s look at a password containing at least one lowercase letter, an uppercase letter, a number, and a symbol. If said password was 8 characters, a computer could crack it in around eight hours; if the password was 12 characters it would take 34,000 years.
Long but simple passwords, such as “catsruletheworldsecretly,” are easy to remember but difficult for a computer to crack.
Passwords can be made even more secure if you do away with dictionary words. The above password can be transformed into “C@tsRul3th3W0r1d5ecret1y” for maximum security.
Do Not Reuse Passwords
If you only have one or a few passwords that you use for every account you have, you could be in trouble in the case that your password gets cracked or leaked.
Many websites and services have had data breaches, some of which have resulted in passwords being posted online for anyone to view. This means someone could see your email and password combination and try it on any website in hopes that they get into your account.
Having a unique password for every single account you have is the best solution to avoid this. That way, even if one account gets exposed, your others are protected.
Use Multi-Factor Authentication
Some places might also just call it two-step authentication, or two-step validation. Basically, it adds another layer of security to your account beyond your password.
A common form of this is when, after logging in, the service requires you to input a code that they text to your phone. This step ensures that even if a hacker did get your password, they would be unable to access your account since they do not have access to your phone information.
Additional methods could require an authenticator app for access, an email with a code, a fingerprint, face-id, and more.
These steps add just a few seconds to your login time but offer significant protection for your accounts.
Don’t Write Your Passwords Down or Share Them
A notebook with a list of all your login information is a surefire way to remember all your passwords, but also an easy way for someone to get all the information for every single account you have.
Likewise, having a text document with your login information is possibly worse, since a hacker could access it remotely on your computer.
If you have trouble remembering all your passwords, try using a password manager. Password managers are programs that remember your passwords for you – in a secure way.
Lastly, keep your passwords to yourself. Even if you are only sharing your login information with someone you trust, there’s no guarantee they know the best practices for password security.