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All you need to know about password use

In one year, researchers found 1.9 billion usernames and passwords exposed by breaches. (Google 2016/2017 Stat)

Passwords are one of the most important elements for safeguarding you online – think of them as your door lock on your front door. Hackers can crack simple passwords in just a few seconds using simple online tools and since the majority of people use the same or similar passwords for different accounts they are highly likely to be able to access all your accounts and cause mayhem.

Some sites offer to create passwords for you, give you a temperature gauge on whether the password chosen is strong enough or they insist that you have certain characters in your password.

To avoid issues, we suggest you do the following to ensure a strong password:

  1. choose 3 random words (not the names of your loved ones – that’s too easy to crack!)
  2. substitute some letters with symbols that are similar in look
  3. use upper and lower case mixed up throughout the password
  4. Make your password 12-15 characters in length. It may look like this – 5teaKb@11C00k~
  5. Use different passwords for different sites – don’t just substitute a letter or two

How do you remember all these complex passwords without storing them in plain text? Using a Password Manager app for storing and even creating them is the best idea. Firstly, for the reason that its highly likely that you will forget your passwords (the average person has between 10 and 100 online accounts!) and secondly, the manager app can be further secured with your fingerprint ID (this, so you don’t have to remember the password to open the App!).

Using two factor (2FA) or multi-factor authentication (MFA) makes it super difficult for a potential hacker to get in. Very simply, all it is is a 2nd or third security barrier and it may be made up of using an authentication app to generate a passcode, being sent a code via text or email or being asked a security question. You can decide how deep you want it to go.

That brings us to security questions. It can be a real bane to think up answers to some of their questions – “Your first teacher’s name” “Where you were born” “Your granny’s maiden name” etc, etc. But, they are devised to make it as personal as possible, and hopefully, the hacker won’t know you that well – just be careful of what you post on social media!

Websites often ask whether you want them to remember your user name and password.

Simply do not do this. While we understand that it is a time-saving method, especially if you are in and out of a particular website all day, but believe us, it’s best not to. Hackers are that smart that they will be able to get in because of it.

Many of us forget to actually log off or out of websites and apps. And, some log you off after a time delay period, but it is best if you rather log off once you are done. And logging off applies to actually shutting your laptop or computer down when you are done for the day. It’s just safer!

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