We've all done it - used our birthday, name, or even just 'password' to create accounts. That may have worked for a time, but in this generation, everyone, including online scammers are a lot more tech savvy. We now do almost everything online. Communicate, share, bank, shop, plan, create and so more. Which means its now more important than ever to make sure your accounts are secure by using intelligent, strong passwords.
It's not easy creating a password thats both complex and easy to remember. But here are a few tips to help ensure you keep your accounts secure and prevent internet scammers from accessing your information.
1. DON'T use your birthday, name or other easily accessible/findable information as your password. This sort of information is easy to find through social media, online databases (such as when you type your birthday into a website to get a birthday discount on a website), and other internet information banks.
2. DON'T use the same password for every single website/account. If a hacker or scammer gets a hold of one password for one account, they now have access to every single account you've made. Make sure to mix it up.
3. DO set up 2-factor authentication. I know, it's annoying when you get those pops ups and most of us just click "set up later". But its important to have a back-up log in system. So if for any reason someone does get the password to your account, they wont be able to get in without your second security bypass. This is sometimes a code texted to your phone or sent via email, a security question, an authenticator app, or verifying through the official app. It's important to set this up as a second line of defence.
4. DO make sure your password is at least 12 characters long. Use capital and lowercase letters, numbers and special characters. Mix them up as much as you can, don't just put the capital letters at the start of words, the more random the character placement, the stronger and more secure the password.
5. DO use something you can remember. Even though it is better to use a password thats random and not closely related to you, they can be super hard to remember. So if you struggle to remember passwords and need something familiar, use something like your favourite colour and animal, for example - PurpleElephant968!
You could also use your favourite band, holiday destination or something else familiar that you can keep private but also remember fairly easily.
6. DO change your passwords regularly. I don't mean change your password every week, but keeping your password up to date and changing it at least once a year, will help maintain your account security.
7. DON'T ignore compromised password notifications. I don't mean random emails from people you don't know telling you your account has been hacked, I mean the official google notifications you get when you log into a website telling you to update your password. Also, if websites experience a security breach, they are required by law to information you that your information may have been compromised. If you receive these notifications, it's important to update/change your password and secure your account.
8. DON'T give your password out to anyone you don't know. If for any reason you have to - for example when I require your Instagram password to upload to your social media, or link it to your website. It's then important to change your password once work is completed. It's also important to check how any service providers handle your information, to ensure your information including your password stays secure. We all want to trust our friends, family and partners, but the truth is, you can never be too careful. You don't always know peoples intentions, and you don't know all the people they come into contact with that could compromise their accounts, meaning they then have access to yours. Try and keep your passwords private unless absolutely necessary.
9. DO use other forms of account security/passwords. For example, using face or fingerprint ID to unlock your phone rather than a pin. If your devices have this feature, utilise them. Using fingerprint or facial recognition when logging into devices or websites means they cant be easily discovered or 'hacked'.
10. DO pay attention to "account log in" notifications. For example, whenever I log into Google on a new device, or a device I haven't logged into for a while; I get an email to my account saying I logged in on a new device or in a new location. If for any reason this wasn't you, you can report it immediately and stop whoever is trying to access your account from doing so. So make sure you're regularly checking your emails and apps to ensure you don't have any of these notifications sitting in your inbox unread.
There are many other ways of keeping your accounts, devices and online lives secure. But by ensuring your passwords cannot be comprised by following the steps above and being aware of your internet presence, will help prevent any stress or damage loosing your accounts could cause.
As the saying goes, it's better to be safe than sorry!
Thank you for reading Part 1 of my internet safety series! Sign up to my newsletter to be the first to know when a new blog post goes live.
Stay safe - Jade x
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