Password Safety - Keeping Hackers Out This Holiday Season

Password Safety - Keeping Hackers Out This Holiday Season

Monday 29th November 2021
Direct Training (GB) Ltd.

The first defence between you and an intruder or imposter who is wanting to steal your online information is a strong password.

With the holiday season right around the corner, due to the pandemic, more and more people will be shopping online. As convenient as this is for you to shop, it is equally as convenient for someone who is looking to steal your personal information or card information.

In today's blog, we will be sharing with you a few quick tips to help you to make your passwords stronger and keep your accounts secure this holiday season.

1. Use a nonsense phrase as your password
Whilst long passwords are good, what's even better is a long password that makes no sense. Using letter combinations that make no grammatical sense, are not in the dictionary or that don't even sound right will be a lot harder for a hacker to crack. It should be noted though that you shouldn't use letter combinations that are sequential on a keyboard. A common example of this is QWERTY.

2. Make a long password
As mentioned above, the longer your password the better. It is common for hackers to use multiple methods to access your account, the most rudimentary of these methods being to personally target you and type in letter numbers and symbols to try and guess your password. In contrary to this, the most advanced method is what is known as 'brute force'. This technique utilises a computer program to run through every possible combination of numbers, letters, and symbols as fast as possible in hopes that it manages to crack your specific combination. By having a longer and more complex password, you will make this process much longer and difficult for the hacker. Passwords which contain three or less characters take less than a second to crack.

3. Avoid using obvious or personal information in your password
Any information that is easily discoverable about you such as your birthday, anniversary, high school, city of birth or names of relatives should not be included in your password. This is because these kinds of details make your password much easier to guess. Furthermore, if you are required to choose a security question and answer, select a question where the answer isn't obvious.

4. Start using a password manager
A password manager is a service which auto-generates and stores strong passwords on your behalf. These passwords are then kept in an encrypted and centralized location which is only accessible by a master password. Many of these password manager services are free and offer additional paid features such as syncing new passwords across your devices and auditing your passwords to notify you if they have been breached.

5. Do not re-use passwords
When a hacker completes a large-scale hack, such as attacks on email servers, the list of compromised email addresses and passwords which they obtain are often leaked online. If you use the same email address and password across multiple accounts and it is leaked it makes it extremely easy for hackers to gain access to multiple of your accounts. To avoid this, use a unique password for everything.

6. Keep your passwords hidden
Never give your passwords away to anybody. Don't type your password into your device whilst you are in plain sight of other people. A common thing that people do which you should not do is write your passwords on sticky notes and stick them to your computer. If you need to store your passwords on your computer, either store them in a password locked note file or in a file which isn't obvious so that snoopers can't easily find them.

7. Use numbers, symbols, and different case letters
The best way to create a password is using lots of different numbers, symbols, and different case letters. As previously mentioned, if your combination isn't in the dictionary and your phrases are not published in literature then it is much more difficult for hackers to access your account. Randomly mix up numbers, symbols, and letter. You could even be creative and substitute a letter O with a 0 to mix things up and add a level of complexity to your password.

8. Change your passwords frequently
The more sensitive you information is the more often you should change your password. Once you have changed your password, be sure not to use the same one for a very long time.

9. Turn on two-factor authentication
Two-factor authentication is a great way of adding another layer of security to your password. Two-factor authentication means that once your password is entered, a unique code will often be texted to you and only by entering this can you gain access to your account.