For the fourth consecutive year, the most used password online was “123456.” Ranked second was simply the word “password.” (SplashData’s Annual Report 2017)
While keeping track of and remembering countless passwords, user IDs and security questions can be annoying, especially in our industry where every carrier requires a separate login, we must remain diligent in protecting personal information to safeguard ourselves, and our clients more than ever before.
There are many software options, programs, and companies you can use to aid in keeping confidential things confidential. In this article we address one way to prevent or combat information and identity theft, simply by understanding proper password creation and management.
Check out a few of our “Password Do’s and Don’ts” for creating strong, secure passwords that are infinitely more hacker-proof than your mom’s phone number. Take a moment to see if any of these tips can help strengthen your agencies stance against cyber attacks. You may even be surprised to find that some of the strongest passwords are much more than weird combinations of numbers & letters.
- Don’t use your network username as your password.
- Don’t use easily guessed, simple passwords like “password” or “user.”
- Don’t create passwords using confidential information including your birth date, Social Security number, phone number, or names of family members.
- Don’t use words found in the dictionary. Password-cracking tools, often available for free online, come with dictionary lists that will quickly and efficiently run thousands of common names and passwords leaving you hacked fast!
- Don’t use simple adjacent keyboard combinations: For example, “asdfgh” and “123456” are very easy to hack password combinations.
- Don’t use the same password for multiple websites and never for your email.
- Do create unique passwords using a combination of words, numbers, symbols, and both upper and lowercase letters.
- If you use words from the dictionary, do add a number, use punctuation at the beginning or end of the word and mix in upper and lowercase letters.
- Some of the easiest-to-remember passwords use a line from a song or a phrase only you would recognize, so do use a favorite quote or acronym. In the past, creating an 8-12 character alphanumeric password was the best practice. However, in today’s online world, while complexity may be nice, length is the key. Just remember that each additional character you add to a password makes it that much harder to hack.
- There are several online third-party services that store passwords in the cloud and can help users safeguard sensitive passwords. The passwords are secured with a single master password. If you’re not comfortable entrusting all of your passwords to the cloud, consider using a local password storage program on your computer. Again, take time to create a strong master password that you can easily remember.
With this information, we hope you feel prepared to create stronger passwords and make good decisions when it comes to password management, and if you decide to partner with a password management company you are better able determine the best fit for your business.