In the digital era that we live in, almost any service we use requires a username and password regardless of whether it is a paid service or not. To avoid identity theft and fraud, it is important to ensure that your passwords are strong and not susceptible to being hacked by criminals seeking your personal information.

To help you protect all your valuable personal information, we have compiled a list of tips on creating and protecting your passwords.

Create a Strong Password: A strong password is one that is not easily guessed and not easily cracked by a hacking program.

  • Make your password as many characters as possible with a minimum of at least 8 characters. The more characters there are the harder it will be to guess or crack using a hacking program.
  • Mix special characters, lowercase letters, uppercase letters, and numbers to increase the complexity of your password.
  • Do not use correctly spelled words found in a dictionary as hacking programs will use “libraries,” or lists of common words or bits of text, to speed up how fast they can crack passwords.
  • Do not use your birthday, Social Security number, place of birth or anything other personal information in your password as this information is sometimes readily available on the internet.

Do not share your password with anyone: This is a bit of common sense, but many people think that it is ok to share a password with someone they trust. Sharing a password is never a good idea. Even if the person you are giving it to you is trustworthy, they may not protect your password as diligently as you would or the email you sent them your password in may get hacked at some point, giving account access to a thief.

Do not use the same password multiple times: While it is understandable that you do not want to create a completely unique password for every website or service you use, you should still try to differentiate your passwords. When you use the same password for everything, this gives thieves the chance to steal an easier to access password for a low security website and then use it to gain access to a high security website like your online bank account. You can use the same base password and make a unique ending related to each website, but the more unique your passwords are the better.

Beware of phishing scams: A phishing scam is where a criminal attempts to trick you into giving out your username or password information by pretending to be a site administrator or an employee of a company. Often, this will come in the form of an email which will look official because it has a logo, a heading, and an official sounding title of the sender of the email who is asking you for your information. This will always be a scam as companies will typically never ask you for your login information over the phone or email.

It is understandable if you have so many accounts that it isn’t feasible to have a completely unique and strong password for each one. A password manager may be useful for you as they will reduce the number of passwords you will have to remember and some of them will even create passwords for you. To read more about password managers on our website, click here.

“Secure Password Tips” was written by Sam Imandoust, Esq. He serves as a legal analyst for the Identity Theft Resource Center. We welcome you to post/reprint the above article, as written, giving credit to the author and linking back to the original posting.