Why you need a strong password to be cyber secure
October 15, 2019
Passwords. We all have them.
From our email to our social media to our online banking, passwords allow us to ensure that only we can access the information that’s most valuable to us.
But not all passwords are created equal. Here is why creating a strong password is so essential for cyber security.
Why password security is so important
Password security is important because it’s all that stands between your accounts and a cyber criminal accessing your information.
If you have a weak password, it’ll be that much easier for cyber criminals to steal your information, money or identity.
A strong password doesn’t offer you 100 per cent security. But it is one of the easiest (and most effective) means you have at your disposal for protecting your accounts.
Take email for example. Our email inboxes contain a ton of information that could compromise our identity. But more importantly than that: Our email acts as an access point for so many other channels, from online banking to social media. If a cyber criminal were to get access to our email, they could use the “password recovery” feature to compromise your other accounts.
That’s why it’s so important to pay attention to password security.
Passwords best practices
Select a strong password
A strong password is your best defense against cyber criminals. If you choose a weak password – such as something like your name, address or your pet’s name – it’ll be much easier for someone to try to guess it.
To protect your passwords online, follow these tips:
- Make sure it's a minimum length of eight characters.
- Use a combination of upper and lower case letters and at least one number.
- Include at least one character that isn't a letter or number.
- Be creative. Use the first letter of each word of a memorable sentence or phrase, then make it even tougher by changing some of the letters to numbers (e.g. use a "3" to replace an "e").
- Try combining your pet's name, your favourite numbers and the street you grew up on (or other combinations).
Have a different password for every account
It’s not enough to just create a strong password. It’s also a best practice to adopt different
passwords for different accounts. This is particularly important for any account involving banking or finances.
It’s also important to commit passwords to memory and not store them in a computer or mobile phone. If a website or browser asks to keep you signed in, unclick that option and take the time to re-enter your password each time.
Password protect as many different devices as possible
We all use so many different devices to access the internet. Desktop computers. Laptops. Smartphones. Tablets.
And on each one of them we have important information that can be compromised should someone gain access.
That’s why it’s important to password protect all of these devices. By doing so we offer an integral layer of security between our information and cyber criminals.
Also: Make sure that you change your smartphone's original default password.
Stay away from “common” passwords
Common passwords like your name, address or pet’s name are easy targets for cyber criminals. Try to steer clear of these when setting your own passwords.
Here are some other “common” password ideas to steer clear of:
- Don't repeat numbers (5555) and letters (bbbb), include simple sequences (abcdefg or 56789) or use letters that appear in a row on your keyboard (qwerty).
- Avoid using a single dictionary word.
- Stay away from things like words spelled backwards, misspelled words, and abbreviations that are easy to figure out.
Your password is all that separates cyber criminals from information that can cost you time, money and even your identity.
Use the tips outlined in this article to make sure you pick a strong one!
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