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The Ultimate Guide to Secure Passwords

Passwords are your first and, in some cases, only line of defense against hackers, trolls, and other malfeasants who wish to cause you or your incredibly important data harm. Yet despite this, so many people around the world do not take password security seriously in the least, often picking passwords that are not only simple but predictable. Other people use the same simple password for everything, and that it a massive risk.

Why is it a massive risk? If you think about it, then you’ll come to realize that your entire life is connected to accounts that use password protection in one form or another. Your email (password protected) is connected to your social media accounts (password protected) as well as your financial or banking accounts (also password protected). This isn’t even counting any online gaming accounts, your fantasy football team, or any other accounts you use to help you get through your day. Needless to say, you need to stay on top of your passwords.

Here are a few tips that might help you get to a higher level of password sophistication:

How Do You Make a Good One?

When making a strong password, the standard rule is to make sure that you use both capital and lower-case letters, as well as incorporate numbers into your passwords. In addition to this, you should try to make sure that your passwords incorporate other symbols if possible (like an exclamation point) to add another layer of protection against bots used by hackers that try to force passwords.

Another thing is that your passwords should hopefully be easily remembered, but at the same time whatever you use should not incorporate a word from the dictionary. After the list of most commonly used passwords, bots or hackers will often try every word in the dictionary first.

In addition to this, anyone that knows you should not be able to guess your password either, so try to avoid middle names or pet names or something of that nature. Friends and family are identity thieves more often than you think, and information such as that can be found and used by hackers more easily than you might want to admit.


How Often Should You Change Them?

A common question for people interested in passwords is how often should you change them? The answer varies, other than the fact that you should change them, but I would like to say every three months is sufficient, unless of course you suspect a breach or a threat, in which case the answer is immediately.

Otherwise, you should just consider the recommendation from the service or program that you need a password for, and often they will force a password change every once in a while for your protection. Follow what they say, and along with your password, change any other security codes or PINs each time for an added benefit.


Protect Your Passwords Once You Have Good Ones

Once you have a great password, you are going to want to make sure that no one steals it from you entirely and then uses it to easily log into your account. Password forcing is common and one way to get into your account, but there are other methods that you will want to protect yourself against.

The primary one to mention here is what might happen when you use a risky public network unprotected. When this happens, your computer is sending out everything you upload and download over the network like a television or radio signal that a hacker with a simple setup can easily pick up and then figure out what your passwords and usernames are. No matter how sophisticated your password is, they’ll know.

For this reason you need a Virtual Private Network, which is a service that creates an encrypted connection between your computer and an offsite secure server. You will do your data management and browsing through this server, and anything you need or send (including passwords) will be sent over that secure connection. It is the best and most cost-effective option compared to other security measures or the consequences of a security breach, and you should pick out the best one for your safety.

For – By Caroline – securethoughts

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