Passwords are the Keys to Our Digital Lives
As more and more of us continue to move our lives online, it’s important to remember the tried and true “rules” of a good password. Below are some tips and guidelines to help you keep your online data safe.
Tip 1: One Password to Rule Them All!
How many passwords do you use? If your answer was one I have some bad news for you. All too often people find a password that they like and can easily remember and then start using it on every website they sign up for – from online email to social media to online banking. Having a single key to your digital life is taking a huge risk with your safety.
Imagine having a single key that unlocked everything you own; cars, homes, offices, etc. While it may seem convenient and a great way to never get locked out of your things again, imagine what could happen if you lost that key! Diversify your passwords as much as you can. Most experts would recommend never using the same password more than once, but that seems a little un-realistic in our modern digital lives. Instead consider focusing passwords into groups. One for social media, one for financial institutions, one for ecommerce sites like Amazon, one for one-off use for websites that make you create an account to download something, and one for your email account (more on why this account deserves its own password below).
Tip 2: Time Erodes Everything, Even Security
When was the last time you changed your password? People get comfortable with their passwords and once they set them, we tend to forget to change them. Unfortunately we live in a world where data breaches are all too common, even the big guys aren’t immune to these attacks. Once a malicious force has your password, it’s only a matter of time before they can crack the encoding on it because no encryption is 100% safe forever. Updating your passwords every 3-6 months is a good rule of thumb to help bolster your password security and stay one step ahead of the bad guys.
Tip 3: Keep to the Basics of a Good Password
There are several best practices to ensure you password is strong. Passwords should meet the following minimum criteria:
- 6-8 characters, the longer the better.
- Use letters (uppercase and lowercase), numbers and special characters (@#!?*)
- Avoid using complete words instead try mixing multiple parts of words ( passugh )
- Avoid using things that may be common knowledge or easy to find out about you like your name, date of birth or the company you work for.
Don’t be afraid to go above and beyond these guidelines, the more complex and longer password is the more secure it will be.
Tip 4: The Password for Your Passwords
Have you ever forgotten a password and had to click the trusty “forgot your password” link on a website? This feature is a handy tool and a life saver for those times when your password is so good even you can’t guess what it is and virtually every site that has a login will feature this little link. With a simple click the website you’re trying to access will often ask you for an email address and send off a little email with a quick and easy way to reset your password. But, this leads me to ask, how secure is your email password? It’s hard to rank passwords in terms of importance, but if I’d be hard pressed to find an account that should be more secure than your email account. If the bad guys have access to your email account it becomes incredibly easy for them to start tearing through your other accounts simply by clicking the “forgot your password” links and resetting your passwords.
Tip 5: Double Your Security, Double Your Peace of Mind
Whenever possible take your online security and passwords to the next level with 2-factor authentication. 2-Factor authentication has been around for a while, but is becoming more and more common for users to opt-into and you should definitely be taking advantage of it when it’s available. It works by not only using a username/password combo, but also incorporates a physical device into the login process as well.
As an example you may go to your favorite website and first login in using your username/password, but before you can access anything the website will send a simple code to your phone via text message and will require you to enter the code into the website before finishing the logging in process. This extra layer of security means not only does a hacker have to know your password, but they’ll also have to get access to your phone as well.
Well, you’re all set now. Follow these simple guidelines and you’ll never have to worry about your passwords again right? Well not quite, while these guidelines will move you from being the easy pickings to a more hard target for hackers, the reality is no security system is 100% bulletproof. As with most things, the best defense is an active one that requires a constant vigilance.
A Special Note to our Vivid Clients
You may have noticed the criteria for your passwords have gotten stricter over the recent months. As part of our continued commitment to ensure the safety of your websites, we’ve implemented a set of minimum requirements for user passwords. As a general rule the best way to ensure your passwords meet our new criteria is to string together several words with a speckling of uppercase and lowercase letters, numbers and special characters.
For example string together some of your favorite bands or movies like this: ”St@rWarsGodf@ther@vengers”. Using a series of familiar words will make passwords easier to remember for you the user, but keep the difficulty high for automated programs trying to crack them.