10 Things You Need to Do to Keep Passwords Safe

Secure Passwords Checklist: 10 Things You Need to Do to Keep Passwords Safe

There's no such thing as being too safe, especially when it comes to your passwords. As your personal data's one and only line of defence, you don't want to be caught cutting corners with your password when cybercriminals and hackers show up looking to crack your codes and steal your information. For this reason, it's absolutely essential to follow this secure passwords checklist to make sure you keep your passwords safe. Read on to see if there's anything you need to change odds are, there will be.

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Keep Passwords on a Need-to-Know Basis

Perhaps unsurprisingly, one of the leading causes of cybersecurity breaches is password sharing. It happens quite often, and for relatively innocent reasons: For example, say you tell your Netflix login to someone who then tells it to someone else who then tells it to someone else. Before long, a few dozen people have the same username and password you use for your banking, your social media, and your bills. The only way to prevent this is to simply not share your passwords with anyone who doesn't need to know them.

Don't Reuse Old Passwords.

While it might be tempting to reuse the same password with a different variation each time you're asked to reset it, you should resist this urge and go with a new password each time. If you continue to switch up a letter here or a number there while sticking to the same basic password, it'll be incredibly simple for cybercriminals to crack your logins and have their way with your personal data and vital info.

Two-Factor Authentication Is a Must

When given the opportunity to enable two-factor authentication, you should absolutely go for it. Two-factor authentication sends a call, a text, or an email to your personal device when logging in, preventing hackers or cybercriminals from having such easy access to your login. Even if they have your username and password, it's pretty unlikely that they'll be able to see your texts or answer your phone.

Make Sure Each Website Has Its Own Unique Password

Plenty of us are guilty of using the same password across all our different accounts. It's easy to remember, and it allows you to log in faster, but it also makes you more vulnerable to widespread hacking if someone ends up getting their hands on your password. If the same virtual key fits in all of your online padlocks, cybercriminals can have an open season on your data and info with ease. Each new website should get its own unique password.

Change Your Passwords Often

If it ain't broke, why fix it, right? When it comes to passwords, this is dead wrong. Not every website prompts its users to change their password frequently, so it's easy to forget that this is one of the most essential defence mechanism against getting hacked. Change your passwords often — once every month or so, if you can bear to. It'll absolutely be worth your while in the long run because it essentially turns you into a virtual moving target.

Think Phrases Instead of Words

While the word "password" suggests something short and simple, you should start thinking of phrases instead of words. Passphrases are longer and more complex than passwords, and they make things harder to crack for cybercriminals while staying easy to remember for you. A song lyric, a favourite quote, anything — the longer and more obscure it is, the safer you'll be.

Use a Password Manager

Now that you've made up some complex passphrases that are unique to each website you log in to, you're going to need a safe place to store all of them. Obviously, it's not very safe to just write them down on a piece of paper or a Word document out in the open. Password managers safely and securely encrypt your various passwords, making them virtually impenetrable to hackers and cybercriminals.

Sign up for a free TeamPassword trial to take advantage of the TeamPassword password manager today.

Log Out, Then Close the Window

It's really tempting to leave all our favourite tabs up on our laptops or our phones so that we can have easy access to all our websites and things. Unfortunately, if your device falls into the wrong hands, you've essentially made it easier than ever for your passwords to be breached — especially if you're still logged in across all your tabs. The best thing you can do is to log out and close out of your tab when you're done with it. (And you can always bookmark the site instead of leaving it open.)

Beware of Public Networks

Free Wi-Fi has been a staple of coffee shops, restaurants, stores, and countless other public places for years now. As such, it was only a matter of time before hackers found a way to take advantage of this. Public networks are much less secure than home internet connections, and you're a lot more vulnerable to having your passwords stolen when logging into your various accounts on these public Wi-Fi hotspots. If you must connect to a public network, use a VPN (virtual private network) to secure yourself.

Take Caution When Choosing Reset Options

When you choose your security questions when creating a new username and password, you should always be sure not to choose answers that could be easily discovered on the internet: Things like your pet's name that you posted on social media, the name of the street you used to live on, or even your mother's maiden name. When you go with these sorts of questions, you make it easier for someone to come along and reset your password without your knowledge, effectively locking you out of your own account with relative ease.

The Bottom Line: Password Safety Is Essential

At the end of the day, password safety is just as essential as locking your front door or your car — if not more. By following this secure passwords checklist and using TeamPassword's password manager to store all your login info, you'll be able to better ensure your online safety across the board. Sign up for a free trial today.