October is National Cyber Security Awareness Month
October is National Cybersecurity Awareness Month. And we’re going to use this occasion to remind you how important strong passwords are. In most cases, the only barrier between your personal information and the criminals who are out to steal your money and identity is your password.
The easiest and best way to keep your data safe is to make sure you passwords are strong. And make sure you use a unique password for every site on which you store personal information.
1. The two most used and reused passwords on the web are “123456” and “password”. Passwords like those take less than a second for a good hacker to crack. if you use those for passwords, get busy and change them. Today. Right now.
2. Avoid using the names of pets, sports teams, or favorite artists in your passwords. These are too obvious and too easy to guess.
3. Hackers know about the trick of switching a symbol or a number for a letter. Some examples for you: H3llo, p@sswOrd, ort $miley. If you’re going to do switch numbers & symbols combine them with obscure words and upper and lowercase letters.
Ey3C@nM@k3Th3SkyBlu3Again (I Can Make The Sky Blue Again). It’s a phase that would take hackers over 5 million years to guess. Hackers may be criminals but they’re not stupid. No hacker is going to years breaking into my $49 savings account… ya think?
4. Don’t use patterns in passwords. By patterns we mean things like 121212, 123456, 654321, 77777, abcdef123 and so on.
5. Don’t use common words like weather, baseball, football, mailman, shopping, Chevy, etc. Use a phrase or a short sentence instead.
6. If you think you’re going to defeat a hacker by putting a punctuation mark or number and make a weak password stronger, please don’t. Hackers know this trick and will sniff it faster than a hound dog sniffing out a raccoon. If you think using password! or password6 makes it a strong password, it doesn’t. So don’t do it, OK? OK!
7. It’s a good idea to change you passwords for critical accounts (banks, stock brokerage accounts, credit cards, and government sites like Social Security, etc.) at least every 6 months. Read our tips on creating strong passwords.
8. Use a good password manager. Most of the password managers available are easy to use and include password generators to help you create strong passwords. And many password managers have free versions, for example, LastPass.
8. Visit this site and find out how strong your passwords are.