Thierry LeVasseur is a Vancouver based tech entrepreneur and industry leader in digital security and communication management.
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If you’re like most people, you have numerous password-protected accounts. Just about everything we do online today requires one, from ecommerce and online banking to various social media platforms. Because of this, when you sign up on a website that requests a password, it’s quick and easy to just type in a familiar word that you believe will be easy to remember. The problem there is that passwords that are easy to remember can also be easy to hack, and no one wants their online security to be compromised.
Here are some tips to help you create and store your passwords.
The most important thing to do is create passwords that are long and complex.
You might not realize it, but if a hacker wants to break into your account -- or worse, steal your identity -- all he or she needs to do is check out your social media accounts or do a simple Google search on your name to find words that could be identified with you. It’s possible that your address, or a pet’s name, or the make and model of car you drive could be incorporated into your password.
Use a combination of letters, numbers and symbols.
If you were a hacker, would you immediately go to HrKsN43P#l*1% as a possible password for someone’s site? Probably not. This is why you want your passwords should contain at least ten characters and have a combination of characters such as commas, percent signs, and parentheses, as well as upper-case and lower-case letters and numbers. For your safety and security, make your password as inciperable as possible.
Change your passwords often.
It’s really easy to change your passwords often. In fact, some sites now recommend or even mandate it. You might want to set aside a time on a periodic basis to change all your passwords. Depending on how many passwords you have, it will take a little time, but it’s time well-spent.
Never use the same password twice.
Again, it’s easy to default to something simple like MyName123 for a few different applications, but it might not keep your accounts as safe as you’d like. It’s likely that you do use the same username often; many sites need your name or email address to create your account. But when it comes to passwords, that’s dangerous. If a hacker can compromise one of your protected accounts, it’s possible that the same person can try that password on other accounts.
Keep your passwords documented, and in a safe place.
Write down every password you have on paper and change the list as often as you update each password. Then find a safe place to keep this slip for reference and updating. It’s better to be safe than sorry, and if you’re using a random combination of letters, numbers and symbols, they’re going to be difficult to remember.