Creating stronger passwords is easier said than done. You have a password to log in to your computer, a password for Online Banking, a password for social media. Passwords are intended to keep us safe, but for most they are our weakest point. Hackers have developed effective (an often automated) methods to guess our passwords. Short, common, or predictable passwords are at risk of being compromised. Good news! We can make stronger passwords that are easier to remember…
Passphrases are simply a way to create stronger passwords that are easier to remember. A passphrase is a long password, made up of a series of random words or a sentence. The longer the passphrase, the stronger it is! Passphrases are actually easier to remember and type. Here are a couple of examples:
These passphrases are strong because they are longer than a typical password, and they also contain capital letters, numbers, and symbols. Stronger, but passphrases are also easier to remember.
KEEP PASSPHRASES SECURE
Even a passphrase can be compromised. Protect passphrases (and yourself) by following these simple tips…
- Never share a passphrase, or your strategy for creating them, with anyone else. A passphrase is a secret that should be kept to yourself; if anyone else knows your passphrase it is considered compromised. If you accidentally share your passphrase or someone sees it, change it immediately. Sharing your critical passphrases with a trusted family member in case of an emergency is the ONLY exception to this rule. Your list of personal (not work-related) passphrases could be written down and stored in a secured location that you share with a HIGHLY trusted family member.
- Use a different passphrase for every device and account you have. If a hacker is able to figure out the password to your email, they will very quickly try using it on your Online Banking or Social Media accounts. There are password manager programs available to securely store your all of your passphrases in one place. Password managers help you store strong passphrases, but you only have to remember the one to your device and your password manager program.
- Do not use public computers or wi-fi to log in to your accounts. These systems may be infected and capture your keystrokes. Only log in to your accounts on trusted devices and secure connections.
- Choose your security questions carefully. Many websites will ask you to create answers to security questions. If you forget your password, or someone is trying to hack your account, the right answers can reset your password. Be sure you choose questions that will be hard to guess. Between social media and the internet, it can be easy to figure out your high school mascot or pet’s name.
- Use two-factor authentication. It takes you a few more seconds to enter the verification code they text you, but this two-step process helps keeps your accounts secure.
- Protect your mobile device. Most smart phones require a PIN to protect access to them. A PIN is another form of a password. The longer your PIN, the more secure it is. Many devices allow you to use a passphrase or a biometric, such as your fingerprint or iris scan.
- Close accounts you are no longer using. Did you make a one-time purchase on a website? Have you stopped using your Instagram account? Be sure to close, delete, or disable accounts that you are not using.
PROTECT YOUR IDENTITY
Stronger passwords are your first line of defense in protecting your identity. Think of all the personal and financial information stored behind your logins. Protect yourself and your family by using these tips to create longer and stronger passphrases for your devices and accounts. We recommend regular monitoring of your credit. At Alliance Bank our Safe & Sound Checking and Allegiance Checking accounts include a free program called IDProtect. There is a simple online registration process to protect you and your immediate family. The program includes daily credit monitoring, alerts when there is activity, and coverage to help you restore your identity if it is stolen.