The Internet can be a dangerous place for your personal and financial information and, with many of us having multiple online accounts for services ranging from online banking to email, it is more important than ever to ensure that your privacy is properly looked after. Many people do not take online security seriously enough and, as a result, some have found out the hard way by suffering the devastating consequences which can occur. The following tips will help you to choose stronger passwords to secure your online accounts.
Why Use a Strong Password
Strong passwords are not only harder for other people to guess; they are also harder to crack. Passwords can be cracked, for example, by using what is called a brute force attack. This looks for every possible combination of a set of letters, numbers and/or symbols. If your password is only a few characters long, a brute force attack could discover it very quickly. Longer passwords, on the other hand, and particularly those of significant complexity, are literally impossible to crack since the required time increases exponentially. By contrast, a password which consists of a common name or word can be cracked much more easily either by guessing or by using a dictionary attack.
Use Different Passwords for Different Accounts
With many of us having a dozen or more online accounts for everything from our social networking profiles to various online shops, it is understandably difficult to remember different passwords for all of them. However, particularly when it comes to protecting accounts which hold your financial information, it is important to avoid this habit. Instead, try to get into the habit of having different passwords for such accounts. If you forget a password, you’ll usually be able to reset it without too much trouble. After all, if you are in the habit of using the same password for everything, someone who ends up discovering your password will then be able to access all of your online accounts.
The Basics of a Good Password
A good password is a complex one which consists of both letters and numbers. Passwords which are single words or names, even if spelt backwards or changed just a little are weak and relatively easy to guess or hack. A strong password should contain upwards of ten characters consisting of letters and numbers or even symbols. These passwords are as secure as can be and will help a great deal when it comes to protecting your online accounts.
Change Your Passwords Regularly
Another good habit to get into is to change your passwords on a regular basis. This is particularly important for online accounts which you use frequently. As a rule, it is a good idea to change such passwords every month. If you find yourself struggling to remember these new passwords all the time, you could also try rotating them from a selection of passwords that you already have in memory.