What’s your password? If you’re like most people, it probably isn’t as complicated as it should be – in fact, according to the Verizon 2013 Data Breach Investigations Report, 75% of users use passwords that are less than eight characters in length, and one-third of users have the same password for at least five different accounts. Of course, if this describes you, you need to change your ways! To help you start thinking more about security and bettering your chances of safeguarding your data from hackers and other threats, here are five ways to make your password secure.
1. Change Your Password Often
One of your first lines of defense against hackers is a password. It’s one of your only lines of defense. Passwords are notoriously easy to crack, so make sure you change yours regularly and that you use a combination of letters and numbers (at least ten characters in length). If you want to take extra security measures, make sure your password isn’t based on any personal information (birthday, anniversary, etc.). All hackers need is an email address for that info.
2. Use Complex Passwords
Of course, you’ll want your password to be secure. Passwords like password1 and 12345678 aren’t safe—they can be cracked or guessed in seconds using a list of common passwords. Instead, you should create a strong, hard-to-crack password that includes letters, numbers, and symbols. You don’t need to write it down (unless there’s a risk of losing your computer), but if you do have to write it down, use a different code for each site, so you don’t lose them all if someone gets their hands on it one piece of paper. You can even use memorization tools such as Lifehacker’s Password Safe app for computers and iOS devices, generating random alphanumeric passwords up to 16 characters long.
3. Don’t Share Your Password
The more people who know your password, the more likely they will access it. If you want to keep your business information secure, you should never share your password with anyone—including IT staff at work or family members. If you need help remembering it (or writing down and storing it in a secure place), try using a password manager application or consider making changes, so you don’t have to remember multiple passwords for multiple accounts.
4. Use Multiple Password Managers
Even using complex passwords isn’t enough to ensure that your accounts are secure. That’s why I use a combination of password managers (1Password and LastPass) and other tools (2FA codes, passphrases, etc.) for my various accounts. Use as many security measures as you can think of—you don’t want to rely on just one or two tools; if one becomes compromised, your whole system could be broken into. Consider In-Person Questions: If you have an established company, consider incorporating in-person interviews with future employees who will need access to some of your systems. These security interviews are becoming more popular these days, but they also have their detractors who argue against them because they might make it seem like candidates have something to hide.
5. Use Different Passwords on Each Platform
Use a different password for each of your business and personal accounts. One way to do so is by using a password manager app, which organizes all of your passwords in one place and generates complex passwords that are nearly impossible for hackers to crack. Avoid using common words when you generate new passwords.