Did you know that almost 75% of Americans have, at one point or another and a life, been the victims of an Internet crime? In 2012 alone over 9 million people were the victims of some type of identity theft and, on social media website Facebook, every day over 600,000 accounts are hacked!
With those scary statistics in mind we put together a blog today to help you protect your passwords from being hacked. Lots of advice and great information is to follow and, if you use it, you will reduce the chances that some dirt bag son of a #$@*& is able to get access into your online accounts. Enjoy.
Rule 1:A password that’s easy to remember is also a password that’s easy to hack. Yes, remembering long and complicated passwords is a chore, especially when you are combining letters and numbers that are case sensitive. That being said, it’s vitally important that you avoid using some of the more popular, and extremely easy to hack, passwords that include the numbers 1234, the word “password”, your children’s names and even birthdays.
Rule 2: Use different passwords on different sites. In most cases your email will be used to help reset passwords on other sites so definitely make sure that your email password is a tough not to crack. If someone is able to hack that one, they’ll basically have access to practically every account you own. In other words, it’s vital to create new passwords for each new account and make sure that your email password is a tough one to crack.
Rule 3: Use passwords that are longer and thus stronger. If you use a pass word that’s 14 characters or more it’s almost impossible for a hacker to crack it and less than 24 hours, meaning that it’s a great deterrent. If you want to go a little bit shorter you can use a 10 character password that contains a combination of numbers, symbols and upper as well as lower case letters. The best long passwords are completely random and the more random they are, the less likely that a hacker will be able to figure them out.
Rule 4: Don’t answer security questions completely accurately. While this seems a bit contrary, answering security questions on websites correctly is like giving a thief the keys to your house. Fact is, the answers to most of these questions can easily be found using Google, including the type of car you drive, your mother’s maiden name or the street you grew up on. Most of these questions have a limited number of answers as well, like your favorite color or your favorite football team. If you are forced to answer these questions you may consider answering them all the same, but incorrectly, and of course make sure you remember what you wrote. Difficult? A little. Vital to protect your online accounts? Definitely.
Rule 5: Change your passwords regularly. Changing your passwords is like changing sneakers if you are an avid jogger; it’s necessary if you don’t want to blow out your Achilles tendon or have a hacker blowout your online accounts. A good idea is to change them every 3 months or so.
Rule 6: Use an online password manager. We realize that keeping track of complicated passwords is a bit of it chore. Today however there are password managers like Dashlane and Passpack (among others) that will protect all of your passwords and give you one master password only to remember. They will also auto-log you when you visit any of your sites so that you don’t have to go searching for your password or remember it every time you log on. It’s one of the best ways to make sure that you keep track of your passwords and not get brain freeze.
And there you have them, A half dozen excellent tips that will help you to guard your online accounts and keep them safe from hackers, slackers and safe-crackers everywhere. I have passwords on sites ranging from my online banking down to my bingo account on http://bingo.paddypower.com/games, so security is absolutely vital. If this blog scared you a little that’s a good thing because most people don’t do anything unless they are motivated by a little fear. If we did scare you but it keeps you from losing a lot of money you’ll thank us later, so you’re welcome.