Cyber criminals are always at work trying to steal your personal information. As we continue to give more and more personal information to businesses and other large entities, the importance of creating a strong, unique password cannot be emphasized enough. While some data losses may be out of our control, there are things you can do to ensure a greater likelihood of keeping your personal data safe.

Don’t share your account information with anyone.

This may sound like a no-brainer, but a surprising number of people share their account information with at least one other person. According to a recent survey from LastPass, over 95% of people admitted to sharing their password information with others with most cases being in that of a significant other or spouse. Many of these come from places like shared streaming accounts, and bank or utility accounts. It’s understandable why sharing a password with a friend or spouse can make things more convenient, but sometimes relationships don’t last – and in those cases, it can be difficult to remember to secure your accounts before the damage is done. 

Make your password long. 

There are computer programs designed to crack passwords that cyber criminals often use to run through every possible combination of letters and numbers, so the longer your password is the longer this process can take. Some examples of these password cracking programs are Cain & Abel, Medusa, John the Ripper and THC Hydra. Most sites and services recommend a minimum character count of between 8 and 15 characters but the password becomes harder to crack with each added character. 

Use multiple passwords across your digital accounts.

The number of people who consistently use just one or two passwords across digital accounts is astonishing. In fact, DigiCert found that 73% of users have the same password for multiple sites and 33% use the same password every time. Most people use the same password on all of their accounts citing forgetfulness as the main reason. The obvious issue with this is that if one of your accounts is compromised, virtually every single one of your accounts is compromised, and there’s no real way to know until often it’s too late. Don’t be the victim of losing access to your accounts using just one password and make sure to change your passwords regularly. Reputable resources say to change your password every 30, 60 or 90 days to be on the safe side.

Don’t use real words. 

Using real words in your password, whether it be 3 or more, makes your password much easier and quicker to crack than a mishmash of numbers, letters and special characters. Even if the words are completely unrelated or out of order, it can take just hours if not several minutes for an attacker crack it with a brute force attack. Brute force attacks are often conducted by automated software designed to test every possible combination of numbers and letters to obtain password information. As we can see with this list of the most common passwords, most if not all are comprised of real words or number patterns. So when you go to create a strong password, be sure to exclude whole words.

One creative way to use seemingly random letters and numbers is to take the first letter of every word in a sentence or song lyric. 

For example: ibsaltitimbg = “It’s been such a long time, I think I must be going.” For added complexity, add symbols and numbers.

Don’t type passwords on devices or networks you don’t control.

As keylogging software becomes more sophisticated, it becomes increasingly important for users to be vigilant and never enter passwords on devices or networks that can’t be controlled. It used to be that having an updated anti-virus software was often enough to protect against cyber criminals using keylogging software. However, keylogging software and devices are becoming so savvy that they’re slipping past even some anti-virus detection processes. Your safest bet is to use only your own computer. Additionally, be certain that the login page you’re trying to access is encrypted (URL: “https://” vs. “http://”) before entering any personal information.  

Opt-in for two-step authentication.

Also known as multiple factor authentication, this process adds an extra layer of security by requiring you to complete a second step to verify that it’s really you. Several sites offer this as an option to help keep your account secure. Although many may consider this process tedious or inconvenient because it often requires waiting for a code to arrive or checking a different device, adding this extra step makes your account less attractive to hackers and therefore, less vulnerable to attack. 

Once again, your personal information is too valuable to leave behind a weak password. Make sure to utilize these powerful tips to guard yourself against the increasingly virulent consequences of cyber criminal activity by creating a strong password. Once you’ve created your password (or you want to see how your current password(s) fare against attacks), be sure to test its strength before you hit “Sign Up”. 

At Workware, we understand the value of privacy and security. That’s why we’ve created a technology solution to help users navigate the third-party navigation process quickly and easily. Schedule your demo and contact us today.