Arguably, passwords are among the most important pieces of information in the 21st century. As valuable as cash money, blue skies and your first cup of coffee in the morning, a good password can stop you from having a very bad day.
Passwords are everywhere. You have a password for your bank, your email, your Faceb.... ook account, your credit card, your computer, your phone, and pretty much anything that requires security. For some reason, however, very few people take the creation of a password seriously. According to a security company survey, the most popular passwords last year were "12345" and "password". Hmmm... same as my luggage.
Here are a few pointers on creating a strong (like Bull) Password
- Do NOT use common words: ilovegold, moneymaker, etc. The dictionary is not your friend in this case, even if you are a fancy pants scholar and use big words. Best idea, no words at all.
- Do NOT use only letters: klatubaratanikto
- Do NOT use only numbers: 8675309
- Do USE a combination of alphanumeric characters: jfd5tru21
- Sprinkle in a few capitals: jFd5tRu21
- Sprinkle in a symbol or two: jFd5$Ru2!
We know you have questions, here are hopefully some of the answers.
How would I possibly remember that password?
Above are only examples. You can have a less complicated password or one that might ring a bell, but only to you. Abbreviations can be used, but think about what the consequences may be of not having a strong password.
Is there a place that I can store my passwords just in case...?
Yes & No. As long as you know what the risks are, then yes. There are apps that we like that can store info on your phone, tablet or computer with a master password, and offer very good protection in case you lose one of those. The top apps in this field can also automate the entire process. We can't get into the details in the space we have here, but if you want to come into the store or call us we can certainly go over them with you. Two of the programs that we use and have experience with are ROBOFORM and 1PASSWORD
How often should I change my passwords?
As often as possible. Banks, credit cards, and anything that might deal with your social security number, date of birth, and address in the same place should be changed every 60-90 days. This includes your email. Others sites like social media (Facebook, Twitter etc.) should be changed every 6-9 months.
An email has notified me that they have possibly leaked/stolen passwords but I do not see any activity on my credit card statement or bank account that is abnormal. Should I change my password?
YES, YES & YES, there is no reason to tempt fate. The amount of data that is typically leaked could take a very long time to sift through, so you may not see any activity on your account for quite some time after the notifications have been sent. As soon as you are notified, you need to change your password. Make that change at the website for that account, NEVER in a link from an email.
Follow up question to the above. If they offer a way to enter my personal information to see if my account was compromised, should I use it?
NO! Even if the source seems legitimate, it's just not worth the risk that it may be fake. Just change your password. Less exposure is best in this case.
What is the most important password in your opinion?
Your email. This is the gateway to your other accounts online. Your email can be used to setup new accounts pretending to be you and hijack your already existing accounts. Changing your email password also prevents email cloning.
What is the safest Email to use?
By far our favorite is Gmail. The security, functions and availability for two factor authentication is what really makes Gmail our favorite. We also like that Gmail will automatically shut down access to your email if they detect abnormal activity and require you to verify yourself to gain access again. You can also see a list of where your email has been accessed from. Typical of Google Inc., they did things right.