Five Ways to Protect Passwords

With the dawn of social media era, large part of human social activities started going online. People spend hours and hours on Social networks and it has become a part of their lives. Most importantly it contains lots of sensitive personal information of ourselves and the people we connect with. The actions we take in social networks directly represent us. Technology has provided more sophisticated security mechanisms, yet you also have a greater responsibility to use a strong password, which will keep you and your information safe on the internet.

No matter how strong password we use, it is breakable by different techniques using super computers. Think about the 3-digit combination lock you use for your travelling bag. It’s breakable if you try all the numbers between 0 and 999. But it will take some time. The idea is to use a password, which will take much more time to break.

In my view a strong passwords should contain at least eight characters and have a combination of upper and lowercase letters, a numeral and a special character. According to reports’ and surveys, over 75% of South Africans don’t protect their most sensitive accounts with a strong enough password. This leaves them vulnerable to attacks by hackers.

To protect online accounts, I suggest you follow the password-protection measures below:

  1. Don’t use the same one twice. Use a different password for each sensitive website like banking, online shopping, and social networks.  If a hacker obtains a password you use from one site, he’ll have access to your other accounts.  To make passwords easier to remember, it’s fine to use a similar character pattern from site to site, varying part of it in a way that’s intuitive to you but not obvious to anyone else.
  2. Make passwords strong. Create a password that contains a minimum of eight characters.  Include an uppercase and a lower case letter, plus a digit and a special character.
  3. Avoid the obvious. Hackers have extensive dictionaries of widely used passwords.  When composing a password, don’t use common words, names or facts that someone can easily guess or find out.  Avoid predictable patterns, such as starting with an uppercase letter.
  4. Keep passwords safe and up-to-date.  Don’t write down full passwords, but, if you must, keep them under lock and key.  Don’t give passwords to anyone over the phone, via e-mail, or through a social network.  Consider replacing old passwords with stronger ones; they may once have been strong enough but may now be too weak for today’s hackers.
  5. Secure computers and browsers. Keyloggers and other malware are a real risk, especially on publicly accessible computers.  Keep operating systems and major applications up-to-date. When browsing a password-protected website, look for “https” in the site’s address.  Sign into accounts by typing the URL into the browser, not by clicking on a link in an email; it could take you to a fake site. This is an extremely important to note when it comes to your online banking. Remember major South African banks will never prompt you to click on a link from an e-mail.

Tip: How Secure is my password is a nice tool for you to find out the strength of your password by measuring the amount of time it will to break it. Make sure you use a password, which will take very VERY long time to break.

Be safe!

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  1. Five Ways to Protect Passwords by @yaseentheba

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