Did you know the average internet user has 25 accounts to maintain? Despite this, people only use an average of 6.5 different passwords to protect them. With identity theft and data breaches an ever-growing problem, it's important to not only have a different password for each account, but to make those passwords easy to remember and hard to guess.
Scrivens has the following policies you can set in place to help protect your identity and keep your data safe:
- Don't use names of spouses, kids, pets, etc. All it takes for a hacker to crack passwords that include these things is a little research on social media sites like Facebook and Twitter.
- Don't use passwords that include bank accounts numbers, credit card numbers, or birthdays. Not only could hackers use these passwords to gain unauthorized access, they could use these to empty your bank accounts or charge thousands of dollars to your credit cards.
- Passwords should be easy to remember but hard to guess. Passphrases are more effective than passwords; think of an important event that has happened in your life and make a sentence out of it. Then, remove the spaces, turn a word or two into a shorthand or intentionally misspell a word, and add significant numbers if there are none in the sentence (ie. if you adopted two golden retrievers in 2007, you might end up with "2goldenretreevers07").
- Change your passwords every 60-90 days. This may seem like a hassle at first, but hackers have a better chance at cracking your passwords if they never change. Also, don't reuse passwords.
- Passwords should be at least twelve characters long. Generally, the longer a password is, the harder it is to guess.
- Don't use the same password for each account. Hackers target lower security websites and then test cracked passwords on higher security sites. Make sure each account has a different password.
- Include uppercase letters and special characters. Special characters include symbols like "#", "*", "+", and "<". Be c.r!ea^ti%e!
- Make your security questions just as secure. When you click "Forgot password", most sites simply require the answer to a questions like "Mother's maiden name". Typically, these answers are much easier to crack than passwords. Make sure your answers are as hard to guess as your password.
Many apps and websites are beginning to take the security of their users serious and provide added protection. Always take advantage of these added features, including: multi-factor authentication, biometric security (ie. fingerprint), code generators, etc.