These days it’s pretty impossible to completely protect yourself from every cyber threat out there. However, if you have a killer password, you could make it more difficult for those annoying criminals to steal your data or personal info. Here are 5 ideas for creating a more foolproof password.
1. Change your passwords at least once a year.
Most experts recommend changing your passwords frequently, especially if you’ve used the same one for a long time. Usually a change is a good idea around once a year. You could jot down a note to update your password on your planner, or set up a reminder on your Google calendar. This way, you’ll never have to remember to do it when the time comes around.
The one exception is if you hear on the news that one of your favorite sites has been hacked. When security breaches occur (like recent ones at Gmail and stores like Target and Home Depot), you should immediately log on and choose a new password to help keep your account safe.
2. Create strong passwords.
Please, no more using ‘password’ as your password or 12345 - it’s basically like you’re just handing over your personal data to anyone who wants it. Instead, come up with something creative with at least 8 characters. For a really strong password, use lower and upper case letters, numbers, and 1 or 2 symbols to make it especially tough to crack.
Also, it’s best not to use information that others can easily find out about you. Hackers can check out your Facebook page and learn the name of your dog, or do a quick Google search to turn up your address or hometown. Think of something creative that no one knows - avoiding obvious things like your birthday or anniversary that are public record.
3. Come up with a pass phrase.
One idea for creating a super secure password is to make up a pass phrase. If you don’t mind typing a little bit more, a complete phrase can be tougher for hackers to crack. For example, think of a favorite movie line (“There’s no place like home,” “We’ll always have Paris,” “Houston, we have a problem,” etc.); if there’s punctuation in the phrase, it’ll be an even stronger password!
4. Double your password.
If you’ve come up with a strong password, double it for even more security. Just write the password twice, with no spaces, and the added length will make for a more difficult to crack code.
Struggling to think of something good? Use Norton’s Password Generator to come up with a strong option that works for you!
5. Try not to reuse your password.
It can be a pain to think up multiple passwords, but if you’re using just one password for all of your major sites, it can be dangerous. If a hacker figures out your password, they can log into all of your accounts (including ones with sensitive information like your email or banking sites), and tap into a wealth of your personal information. It’s much safer to think up a few strong passwords, so that you’re not making it easy on the cyber criminals trying to hack into your accounts.
If you know you’ll have trouble remembering several different passwords, buy a password journal from a bookstore or on Amazon. There are some fun designs that are convenient to keep near your computer or stick in your bag to take with you on the go. If you’d rather have a digital version, Norton offers a free Identity Safe that can help you keep track of your various passwords in one secure place.
Want to make sure all of your information is safe, regardless of what password you’re using? Download Norton software, and use a discount code at checkout for some seriously secure savings!