Have you been hacked?
Even worse, have you been a victim of identity theft? Depending on the level of identity theft, you may have felt very real repercussions.
Finding out someone has breached your online activity can feel violating. Not to mention, some victims have spent years rebuilding their credit after the fact.
The sheer amount of data that is accessible with your password hopefully feels as heavy as it really is. People don’t tend to put much thought into secure passwords unless they truly understand what is at risk.
If you’re not fully aware of the risks, we want to let you in on a well-known fact in the computer system industry. Everything is at risk. You and your family’s physical safety, your business’s financial security, your privacy, your reputation, and more.
You may be wondering, “how does anything online have anything to do with my family’s physical safety?” The answer is that all of your information lives somewhere on the internet. This includes addresses, schools, places of employment, banks, and basically every aspect of your life that has ever been mentioned or documented electronically.
To help you keep your data and passwords secure, we are sharing 5 tips to creating a secure password.
5 Tips To Creating A Secure Password
These days it seems like there are self-proclaimed experts in every field. Information Technology Systems is no different. But the truth is, a lot of people claiming to be experts are not much more knowledgeable than a teenager. Not to say teenagers don’t know their stuff, but remain wary of who you take advice from.
Brooks IT Services employ educated, qualified, certified, and insured IT professionals. We take our hiring process seriously because we take our clients’ security seriously.
Hackers Are Experts At Figuring Out Simple Passwords
Are you wondering how a hacker is able to figure out your password? Especially when it’s the name of your childhood dog that passed decades ago. Moreover, it’s easy to think… “There’s no way anyone would guess Starbrite or Great Uncle Bob’s old address. Right?”
Here’s the thing, even if it’s some obscure reference to your past, that doesn’t make the password secure. For instance, cybercriminals have many tools in their arsenal to hack passwords. This sleazy software cracks passwords while the hacker sits back sipping energy drinks in their parent’s basement.
Even worse, one of the many infamous things sold on the black market are login credentials and passwords. Subsequently, hackers literally have a data dump of your login information. This is why you’ll hear over and over and over again to change your passwords often. If you’ve been using the same passwords for years, there’s a good chance your information is already in the hands of a hacker. Stick around for the 5 tips to creating a secure password.
1. Keep Your Family Out Of Your Passwords
No, we’re not talking about the nuances of your personal life.
No matter how hard you cover your tracks, there is a plethora of your information on the internet. It’s tempting to include familiar names in passwords to help remember. But those relationships can be tracked.
You might feel sneaky using your kid’s name re-written with special characters followed by their birth year in reverse order. But once again, hackers have already thought of that.
We understand it can be hard to keep track when creating complex passwords. But no matter how much easier using little Sally’s name would be, it is not secure.
2. Leave The Pet Names Out Of Your Passwords
Whether it’s actually your pet’s name or the pet name you call your significant other, don’t include them in your passwords.
No matter how off the grid you believe your silly nicknames for your loved ones (pets included) to be, humble yourself. Just one mention of Sparky in a text message or Quesito embroidered into a blanket to blow your cover.
You trust the people you text. And there’s no reason to doubt the Etsy vendor who embroidered your niece’s blanket and your dog’s collar. But with each communication, your message is traveling through cyberspace.
While messages (through text, email, IM, and everything else) are en route, they become susceptible to hackers. This is where those evil geniuses grab up your info.
3. Stop Using Significant Dates In Your Passwords
Go as far back and seemingly obsolete as possible. Guess what? Those dates are still not safe to use.
Absolutely avoid using significant dates from your life in your passwords. This also goes for dates that have any significance within your family history.
We don’t want to sound like a broken record, but here it is once again… Every detail of your entire life is accessible online.
This becomes even more true as old physical files are constantly being uploaded and several websites are tracking family trees. Your kooky Great, Great Uncle’s birthday is on record somewhere. At some point, someone has probably added this information to an email, website, or online platform.
4. Each Secure Password Should Have A Unique Combination
Creating complex passwords is an important part of network security. Otherwise, you wouldn’t be reading this blog!
We’ve told you and you’ve probably heard it hundreds of times. But just in case, here it is again… Leave your personal information out of your passwords. Additionally, don’t reuse passwords for multiple accounts and change them often.
So how do you come up with new ideas? The answer – KISS.
Keep It Simple Stupid.
A random arrangement of alphanumeric and special characters is the key. Make sure that each password contains lower and upper case letters, numbers, and special characters.
Keep it simple and just get to hitting random keys. This is helpful if you are having trouble coming up with anything else completely random that has nothing to do with your life.
5. Be Cautious Of Where You Store Your List Of Passwords
Where your passwords are stored is just as important as their complexity. Why? Consider this situation:
You save a document on your computer with all your passwords. Mr. Hacker comes along and hacks their way into your computer system. Mr. Hacker doesn’t have to look far to get good information. Why? Because it’s conveniently already saved in a document waiting for him.
Now, Mr. Hacker has access to your email, social media, banking information, and more. Your boss receives a dirty link in an email, your friends are worried because of your strange social media posts, and even worse… Your money is missing.
A tried and true method is to memorize your passwords.
With the amount of passwords now required, that may not be possible. Now, there are password manager apps. Several have great reviews, and many people swear by them. If you decide to take this route, keep in mind that you must remain vigilant when it comes to network security. This includes frequent updates to your antivirus and anti-spyware software.
Get Used To Keeping All Your Information Secure
Now that you’re getting your passwords in order, it’s time to ensure the security of your entire network. Make sure your data is not vulnerable by contacting an IT specialist today.
Brooks IT Services is the only IT service provider in Houston that makes it a priority to help clients stay on budget and minimize unnecessary downtime with our team’s commitment to responsiveness, reliability, detail-oriented coordination, and project management.