TechDad’s Guide to Hacker-Proof Passwords
By now you should know that hacking is no joke. Your identity can be taken in a matter of seconds— and with it, all your personal and financial information. The first and most important step in protecting your online information is to ensure that you’re using strong passwords.
Use These Tips to Build Strong Passwords
The Password is Unique: Use a different password for every platform, app, and website you log into. This is the golden rule of password security!
The Password is Long: Generally 16-34 characters, but longer is better so why not shoot for 42…or 67?! Today’s brute-force cracking software can unscramble 6-10 character passwords in seconds.
The Password is Complex: It contains both upper and lowercase letters, numbers, and special characters.
The Password is Randomized: It is not necessarily a real word but a random jumble of characters and numbers. This makes it nearly impossible to break but also harder for you to remember so you’ll need to come up with a system to safely store your randomized passwords— or use a password manager to generate, store and remember them for you.
Create a Passphrase: This is often the best solution for building long, complex passwords that are easy to remember. String several words together to make a short sentence using upper and lowercase letters and replacing some letters with characters or numbers. Or, make up a mnemonic device to help you remember the phrase. Read our Passphrase Guide for more tips!
Use Two-Factor or Multi-Factor Authentication: These authentications require two (or more) to verify the user’s identity, such as a security question + a security code sent to your phone + a fingerprint.
Use a Password Management Tool: Review our guide to decide which option is best suited for your needs.
Remember: Your overall password security is only as good as the weakest security on the website you’re using.
If one website gets compromised and you’re using the same password across several sites, you’re putting yourself at extremely high risk of being hacked. If you’re wary of a website’s security it may be wise to create a different email (think of it as your “burner” email) for that account. That way, if the site’s security is compromised, the account isn’t tied to your primary email. In this case, you could also generate a randomized username and password to be extra safe.
How often to change your passwords?
Start with strong passwords and you shouldn’t have to worry too much about changing them. Unless a service is compromised or you know someone has your password, it will be very difficult to crack a password that follows the rules above. If you do receive a notice that a website you use has been breached then you should immediately change that password — but if you’re using a password that’s unique only to that site, then you won’t need to worry about your other accounts.
If you’re worried about your online security or think your passwords are putting your personal information at risk, please contact TechDad immediately! We will send an expert technician to evaluate your security risk and provide you with the right tools and solutions to guarantee your online safety.
Learn how TechDad can keep your business and personal life safe at www.techdad.com