Is your password strong enough to protect your account online if someone tries to access it? Nowadays, each one of us has an account online. Facebook, Google+, Instagram, or Twitter — admit it, you own an account on one or more of these social media sites and on websites offering e-mail services.
Here are some tips on how to strengthen your passwords, including managing the many passwords to your different accounts.
Avoid personal info
Do not use your birthday, name of your favourite sports team, colour, pet, place, or book author. Take note that your password can be easily predicted if the one trying to gain access to your account knows all those personal details.
For example, let us say that my favourite movie is Star Wars. I have a collection of Star Wars bobbleheads on my office table and my laptop wallpaper is the Death Star. You already have an idea what possible passwords I am using for my online accounts, and even for my laptop. Just a couple of login attempts and you’re in.
The more, the merrier
An acceptable password length is at least 8 characters — a combination of numbers, letters in upper and lower case, and special characters. To meet this requirement, make your password a combination of words like “The10Commandments!”. Here, we already have upper and lower case letters, numbers, and the exclamation point as our special character.
Apply some tricks
As a programmer, I always make sure that I come up with a strong password to all administrator accounts that I manage. I usually include special characters in my password like this fake example: “#Ch3ckTh!s0ut#”. This trick will help even a simple password become a little harder to guess.
Do not re-use
It is good to re-use when it comes to other things, but not passwords. We already mentioned that we have too many online accounts and every one of them is password-protected. Avoid using the same password for every account that you own.
If you have problems keeping track of all your passwords, getting help from a password manager will keep you from going nuts memorising all of them. Good examples of password managers are Lastpass and 1Password. You only need to memorise one master password to protect all your passwords and other information.
These two services are cloud-based password managing platforms. You can save all your password in your vault and this will be synced if you access it on your other devices. You can use their services by installing their browser extensions or by downloading their IOS and Android apps to your mobile devices.
2FA saves the day
2-Factor Authentication (2FA) is already implemented by many social media sites and email services as a second layer of security in accessing your account.
Here’s how 2FA works: When this feature is available on the website and you decide to use it, they usually ask for your mobile number so they could send the authentication code. Upon activation of this feature, they will send a verification code first to your phone via SMS to verify that the number you provided is an existing one and you are the one requesting the activation of this feature.
The next time you’ll be accessing your account, you will be asked to provide the authentication code sent to your phone before you can successfully log in to your account. It is like having the other half of the key even if someone steals your login information.
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