Thursday, November 17, 2011

Choose Smart Password for your online accounts and protect from hacking

Password is the first line of defense against cyber criminals. If you are using the same password on different websites allows hijackers to access your important accounts details like email, and bank details, if they manage to steal your password from a less secure website.   You're likely to have dozens of accounts across the web, and you can't guarantee the security of all of those accounts. Many smaller companies don't have security technology capable of guarding your data from cyber criminals. When you use the same password across the web, a cyber criminal can gain access to a less secure account and then use that password to compromise your important accounts.

To create a smart password try the following steps:

  • Use unique passwords for your accounts, especially important accounts like email and online banking. Re-using passwords is risky. If someone figures out your password for one service, that person could potentially gain access to your private email, address, and even your money. 

  • Using numbers, symbols and mixed-case letters in your password increases the difficulty of guessing or cracking your password. For example, there are more than 6 quadrillion possible variations for an eight-character password with numbers, symbols, and mixed-case letters - 30,000 times more variations than an eight-character password with only lowercase letters.  Do NOT use personal information such as birth dates, anniversaries, special events, etc. because if the hacker is a so-called friend of acquaintance, your password yells free information. Additionally the longer the pass word the more secure, 8 characters in length is acceptable but 14 is recommended.

  • Choose a combination of letters, numbers, or symbols to create a unique password that's unrelated to your personal information. Or, select a random word or phrase, and insert letters and numbers into the beginning, middle, and end to make it extra difficult to guess (such as "sPo0kyh@ll0w3En"). Using simple words or phrases like "password" or "letmein," keyboard patterns such as "qwerty" or "qazwsx," or sequential patterns such as "abcd1234" make your password easier to guess or crack.

  •  Make sure to regularly update your recovery email address so that you can receive emails in case you need to reset your password. You can also add a phone number to receive password reset codes via text message. Additionally, many websites (including Gmail) will ask you to choose a question to verify your identity if you ever forget your password. If you're able to create your own question, try to come up with a question that has an answer only you would know. The answer shouldn't be something that someone can guess by scanning information you've posted online in social networking profiles, blogs, and other places. If you're asked to choose a question from a list of options, such as the city where you were born, be aware that these questions are likely to be less secure. Try to find a way to make your answer unique — you can do this by using some of the tips above — so that even if someone guesses the answer, they won't know how to enter it properly.

  • Don't leave notes with your passwords to various sites on your computer or desk. People who walk by can easily steal this information and use it to compromise your account. If you decide to save your passwords in a file on your computer, create a unique name for the file so people don't know what's inside. Avoid giving the file an obvious name, such as "my passwords." If you have a difficult time remembering multiple passwords, a trusted password manager may be a good solution. Spend a few minutes checking out the reviews and reputations of these services.


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