How to Build a Stronger Password

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Dollars and Digital Sense: Advice for safe online banking

You use passwords every day to access your email, your computer, even your online banking accounts. Because passwords are so commonplace, it’s sometimes easy to take the security of your accounts for granted. But with so much of your personal and financial information tied to those accounts, it’s always a good idea to go the extra mile to keep everything safe. And the first way to do that is with a strong password. Here are a few quick tips to protect your passwords and your accounts from unwanted intrusion.

Don’t make it easy to guess

A simple password that’s easy to remember might be convenient for you. Unfortunately, these types of passwords are also convenient for online hackers trying to access your account. Using your birthday, phone number, family name, a simple pattern, or even the word “password” are the most common password mistakes. In fact, SplashData estimates that almost 10 percent of computer users have at least one password on the List of Worst 100 Passwords.

Don’t use the same password for all your accounts

When you use the same password for multiple accounts, you become vulnerable to “credential stuffing,” a type of cyberattack that gives someone access to lots of accounts with very little work. Essentially, a cybercriminal can steal your credentials from one site and use your same login and password to gain access to multiple accounts. The best way to stop this kind of attack is to use a different password with every account. It’s a lot to remember, but there are safe and convenient ways to keep track of all your passwords.

Use a pass phrase instead of a password

To create a strong password, use at least 12 characters. You should also add in symbols, a mix of upper- and lower-case letters, and numbers. Some experts suggest using a pass phrase instead of a password. This makes it easier to remember for you. And as long as it doesn’t contain personal information and includes a good mix of characters, it will still be difficult to guess. Using a word, then a number, then a word, then a symbol is a good example of a pass phrase.

Change passwords regularly

The Better Business Bureau, and other online security experts, suggest changing your password every 30 to 90 days. You should also change your password every time you suspect a security breach. While it’s good practice to change passwords often, don’t fall into the trap of using and reusing the same few passwords over and over again. This practice can expose your accounts to risk from past security breaches.

Dollars and Digital Sense: Advice for safe online banking

The power of a strong password cannot be overstated. And it’s within your control. Use these simple tips to build and maintain strong passwords to keep your information and accounts safe.

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