When it comes to creating a password, it can be a hassle to follow all of the guidelines you’ve heard. Some websites want you to have a minimum amount of characters. Others want you to include numbers, capital letters and symbols. The biggest issue for users? Remembering all of their passwords. In fact, in a survey of over 1,500 Internet users over the age of 16, 55% admitted to using the same password for every site they accessed.
However, these precautions are not taken in vain. Creating weak passwords or using the same password can lead to disastrous consequences. According to the Insurance Information Institute, the Federal Trade Commission received 1.3 million complaints about identity theft in 2016 alone. These complaints added up to $744 million in losses for American consumers. Making sure your information is properly protected is important to protect against identity theft, burglary and other possible damages to your future.
Below are some tips for creating and storing your passwords to ensure your information is as safe as possible:
Adhere to common sense password suggestions. Using the 12 character minimum and adding a few symbols to your password can really boost the protection it provides against hacking.
Vary the way you create passwords. Don’t make your passwords too predictable. If you’re adding an exclamation point, add it somewhere in the middle of the sequence and not at the very end. Mix up your passwords for different accounts. Also, don’t make them too similar. Need help? Try a password generating site, like LastPass or Norton Identity Safe’s password generator.
Never reuse passwords. Re-using passwords can be a huge temptation. After all, it means that you’re more likely to remember your password. However, it also means that hackers and thieves will have an easier time accessing your accounts. For instance, if hackers gain access to your Facebook password, they might also be able to access your bank account.
Use password management tools. There are many apps and programs available to store and generate passwords. With these tools, you can feel free to create as many strong passwords as necessary, without worrying you’ll forget them. PC Magazine offers a list of secure password tools and their features. Additionally, web browser extensions can help you generate and store passwords. For instance, Chrome extensions include LastPass, Secure Passwords and Keeper. Firefox includes a password manager as well.
Having a weak password can pose more risks than one might think. Including a commonly used word or easily accessed information could put users at risk to have their financial information or identity stolen. It may seem like one of those things that would never happen to you, but you can never be too safe when it comes to your personal information.
Text by Laura Jane Crocker