Simple, Yet Effective Ways To Protect Your Passwords
1. Don’t share them with anyone
Yeah, so this one is obvious, but because it happens all the time it needs repeating: don’t share your passwords! All of the personal security tips in the world won’t help you if someone else has one of your passwords and is able to act like they’re you online. Maybe you trust them, but are you sure you trust everyone they trust? The point is that once you’ve disclosed your password, the situation is no longer within your control.
2. Use strong passwords
A password that is easily guessable is not much better than nothing at all. Attackers give considerable effort in order to try and discover new ways to make password guessing more efficient, and so it pays off to select strong passwords that are resistant to these efforts. Try making them longer, and use a unique phrase instead of a single word if possible. Include a few symbols or typos if anything. Just make sure you remember it!
3. Don’t use the same password everywhere
It’s tempting to come up with a strong password, and then use the same one in multiple places, like for logging into Twitter or your email. But if your password is broken or accidentally exposed by one of these services, attackers can often go and try to use the password at a number of other services with your public login information, most often an email address. So, use different passwords. That way, if one is broken, attackers won’t be able to obtain access all your other accounts and you can limit the damage.
4. Consider using a password manager
It’s not easy to remember a large number of strong passwords. The last time I counted, I had more than 50 accounts with different services, and despite the value of the previous tips, it’s difficult to have that many different password if you’re in a similar situation, you might consider using a password manager, such as LassPass or KeePass. The idea is to maintain an encrypted database of your passwords so that you only need to remember one: the master password protecting the database. They often have other benefits, such as generating strong passwords for you that respect password policies and work with your web browser.
5. Consider using two-factor authentication
A great way to protect your information is to take advantage of the so-called two-factor authentications when possible. Google, Twitter, and Facebook all provide these capabilities, where the idea is to require two pieces of information as proof of identity: your password, plus sometimes one of those annoying “text verification” schemes for instance. While I find it extremely annoying sometimes, requiring two factors makes it far less likely that your account can be stolen since an attacker would need both your password and your mobile phone in order to obtain access to your account.
Password safety is easily overlooked but is crucial in protecting your personal information. By following the tips above, you’ll be ahead of the curve when it comes to staying safe online.
Zachary T. Brown