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Are your passwords safe?

Posted by James Greig on 17 June 2013

With the amount of things we do online these days, online protection is vitally important. Web security is not a choice, but a necessity for anyone storing private financial and personal information online. While most web companies are stringent when it comes to security, what can you do to increase your protection?

Mix it up

Don’t use the same password for every online account you have. If identity thieves or hackers gain access to one account, chances are they’ll try it across different accounts and put more of your information at risk. Even large, seemingly secure corporations can have databases hacked – think LinkedIn’s drama this time last year.

By making each password unique to every important account you have, you lower the chances of hackers gaining access to your private information.

Make it hard

Using well-known phrases or terms makes it easier for hackers to guess your password. Instead, go for a completely random word or phrase and include numbers and upper-case letters when you spell it out. For example, spell the password “mybrownhair” like this: My8r0wnha1r.

Keep it safe

Most people stick to known words because they’re worried they’ll forget their passwords, according to Google. The information giant says it’s okay to write them down somewhere, so long as it’s safe. It’s not a perfect solution though – especially if you store the information on your laptop or desk where a thief can access it. A better approach is to password protect your desktop and use a trusted, digital password manager like 1Password or LastPass to store all your weird and wonderful PINs.

Have a backup

Most providers – especially high-level security accounts like banks – ask for additional information like a backup email address, phone number or security question. This allows you to gain access to your account should you get locked out of it.

Web companies are constantly upping the security ante to help their customers feel safe and secure, but as providers improve their technology, so do hackers. There’s no need to create unnecessary anxiety around your passwords, but do as much as you can to keep your information safe. Regularly update your passwords with random combinations that only you will remember and you can rest easy knowing your online security is as strong as possible.

Author: James Greig
About: James is the founder of Bloomtools and the software and Internet expert on the Executive Team. With a degree in Advanced Information Technology, specialising in Computer Science and Interactive Development, James founded the software development arm of Bloomtools in 2004.
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