By Savvy Cyber Kids January 26, 2021
Summary: Choosing a secure password can help protect your data from hackers looking to steal your identity over high-speed internet. Expert Ben Helpern shares his top tips for creating a strong password and securing your data from threats.
Did you know that passwords are one of the most stolen personal data items? Using Pa$$word as your login for all your accounts could be disastrous if it’s found on even one of them. Because of this, and the data breaches we all hear about, using a weak password or the same one for multiple apps or websites isn’t a great idea. In 2019 alone, companies reported 5,183 data breaches that revealed login credentials (and a lot more) that could be used to access your accounts or steal your identity.
So, let’s take a look at how you can choose a strong password and protect your data online.
I recommend using passphrases rather than passwords. They are tougher to crack, and I think remembering a fun passphrase is easier.
Here’s how I create a strong passphrase:
1) Pick a favorite song, movie, TV series, or book
2) Pick another favorite song, movie, TV series, or book or character
3) Combine the two in a sentence
4) Add some fun like numbers, punctuation, etc.
Here’s an example:
Movie: Born on the 4th of July
Character: Charlie Brown
Sentence: Charlie Brown was Born on the 4th of July
Fun: *!* Like fireworks to show my excitement!
It’s that easy. Now, create a few for yourself, and then help your family members create theirs.
So, how do we create strong passwords for all the sites and services we use without having to memorize every single one? Start saving your passwords as you create them using tools like Keychain or Password Manager — or the many other password management tools that can do this for you — on your computer or phone.
This way, you’ll NEVER have to remember those strong passwords you’ve carefully created to be tough to guess and never repeated. One great feature of many of these services is that they’ll notify you if your username and password were subject to a breach and tell you to change that specific password. Most of us never go anywhere without our phones, so the ones you save there always be at your fingertips. A quick reminder here to also remember to password protect your phone and computer!
It’s a best practice to enable two-factor authentication to verify your identity when logging into a website or app. Most often, these tools will send a code to your phone, and then you’ll be asked to enter those numbers into the app for confirmation. You can also request a phone call or use a third-party verification app. All of them help prevent someone from accessing your account even if they have your password.
So, remember to protect your data online:
1. Create a strong passphrase.
2. Save your passwords in a password manager tool. Password protect your devices, too.
3. Let the services you use (Chrome, Google, Apple, etc.) select strong passwords for you.
4. Enable two-factor authentication.
5. Watch for notifications from your password management tool. If one of your login combinations gets stolen in a breach, change the password immediately there – and anywhere else you’ve used it.
6. Consider changing your passwords or phrases on a regular basis: quarterly or every six months.
Savvy Cyber Kids
See all posts from Savvy Cyber Kids.