All of us have done this at least once in our lives.
We get lazy and are afraid we’ll forget our password so we set our passwords as our names, our pet’s names, our favorite car, our birth date, etc.
Did you know that all that information about you can be found publicly on your Facebook and other social media accounts? Ever posted a picture of your favorite car on Facebook and see those Facebook birthday notifications on the sidebar? Yup, it is all out there.
We’re posting more of our personal information on social media than ever before.
In August 2014, a Russian crime ring stole more than 1.2 billion username and passwords worldwide. Do you think any of your accounts were in there? I immediately updated all my passwords after this. Better safe than dealing with the headache aftermath.
Follow these 10 tips to creating better and secure passwords:
1. Do not use your name, family’s names, pets’ names, date of birth, favorite color/car or any information that can be figured out by just googling you.
2. Do not use consecutive strings of numbers or letters or keyboard keys because it is convenient. Some of the most popular passwords exposed were “abc123”, “12345”, “qwerty”, or “11111”. Are you guilty of this combination or did I just reveal any of your passwords?
3. Use a different password for each website. When your email is hacked, it is just as easy to hack your bank account online because the passwords could be the same. Not only that, your bank account login information is in your emails also.
4. Avoid entering passwords on public computers or an unfamiliar computer. You do not know if malware or hacking software is on the computer or not. This includes using public Wi-Fi connections at coffee shops, airport, restaurants, etc.
5. Don’t tell anyone your password. You can share it with your spouse, if you trust him/her! Keep your passwords in a safe and secure location if you must write them down.
6. Do use at least 8 characters (or what the minimum requirement is). Include a combination of capital and small letters, numbers, and symbols like – ( ) _ if they are allowed.
7. Use hard to answer security or password retrieval questions. If the question is: what high school did you attend? That can be found on your Facebook.
8. Change your passwords periodically. Change your passwords even more frequently for accounts at the bank, 401k, insurance, etc.
9. Do not re-use the same password or a form of the password again. If you have used “12345” before, it would not be tough to figure out you’ll use “123456” after.
10. Last, and is not done enough, is to completely log out of any computer, program, or website where you have entered your password.
If your accounts have never been hacked before, does not mean it will never happen. Follow these steps immediately.
When I was scammed by my realtor, he recalls using an unsecure Wi-Fi connection at Starbucks to check his Gmail and he couldn’t remember if he logged out while using the unsecure connection.
Ultimately, his email was hacked. And a month later, I was scammed of tens of thousands of dollars. It does happen.
With technology these days, a password often times does need to be easy to figure out in order to hack into an account. The main thing is to also change your password often and pay attention to any notices from your email host if suspicious activity has been detected in your email.
Google always sends me notifications if I have logged into my email at my parent’s house or my friend’s house or if I used a internet browser I never used before. These notifications lists the city where someone tried to login to your email, pay attention to the city and if it no where near you, that is more than likely someone trying to hack into your account.
Have you ever had any of your accounts hacked? How did you handle the situation?