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Cybersecurity Awareness Month and Strong Passwords

Cybersecurity Awareness Month and Strong Passwords

Thursday, October 17, 2019

 

Read Time: 3 mins

 

It’s Cybersecurity Awareness Month, an effort to promote and provide resources for a safer and more secure online experience, so we talked with our security team to get some helpful tips on how to protect our identity online. Their number one security tip, create strong and secure passwords. 

Don’t give away passwords.
You should avoid giving your password to anyone, even your relatives or longtime friends. You never know, that friend might accidentally leak your password, or they may abuse it.

Create unique passwords.
There are various viruses and hackers you need to watch out for. You should create a unique password for every account you make on different online platforms. Otherwise, if a password is stolen, it may pose a risk to your other accounts.

Hard to guess, but easy to remember.
If it’s possible, use a phrase that is important to you or use initials and adds numbers or special characters to make a password. Some sites may even allow you to use the entire phrase as a password. Don't include personal information like a pet’s name because this information is easy to find out.

Get creative. 
Use phonetic replacements, such as “PH” instead of “F”. Or make deliberate, but obvious misspellings, such as “enjin” instead of “engine.” Avoid using common words in your password and substitute letters with numbers, punctuation marks, or symbols. For example, you can use: @ to replace the letter “A”; an exclamation point (!) to replace the letters “I” or “L”, or symbols such as "&" or "%" to replace letters.  It becomes difficult to crack passwords that contain symbols and numbers compared to those that contain only letter. 

Make longer passwords.
The longer a password, the stronger it gets. It is much more difficult for hackers to crack longer passwords.

Don't use dictionary words.
Try avoiding the use of words in a dictionary. If the word is in a dictionary, it may be easy to solve. There is a process among hackers known as “brute force” that uses a dictionary to gain access to your accounts.

Store passwords.
This might seem like an unnecessary tip, but often many people write their passwords on sticky notes and leave them on their monitors. If you really need to write your password down, you should keep it in a place that no one can access or easily see.

Password manager.
There are web services or programs available that allow you to create and store all of your passwords for each of your sites. Then you will only have to remember one password that can be used to access the program that stores all of your passwords for you.

Verification.
Many services and sites offer an option to verify your account from an unrecognized device. The common method for this is that you receive a text message to your registered mobile device with a code that you enter to verify that it is you who is accessing the site.

Secure devices.
Even if you create the best password in the world, it won’t do you any good if someone is looking over your shoulder as you type in the password. Different types of software such as keyboard loggers that make a record of your keystrokes have aided hackers in password theft. You should make sure that your operating system is updated, and that your device is running up-to-date anti-malware and anti-virus software.

Lock your phone.
Most phones can be locked, and the only way to access it is by entering a code or maybe a pattern. Some phones have integrated a new technology of registering your fingerprint and require it to unlock the phone.

If you suspect fraud or believe you've been the victim of identity theft. Report any fraudulent activity immediately. To report fraud or dispute a transaction on a debit card, please contact us at (803) 736-3110.