Protect your passwords.
This is the single best piece of advice when it comes to protecting yourself and your employer from a breach. But what happens when someone hacks your password and is able to use your accounts to their own ends? In a word, disaster.
That means they can access anything from your purchase history to your credit card information to your basic information. This opens you up to all sorts of opportunities for computer and identity fraud. That can also add up to all sorts of trouble trying to get your life back.
So, it helps to be smart about this. Here are some steps you can take when you need to protect your password and keep your data safe. While these aren’t exactly ironclad, they’ll go the extra mile when it comes to staying ahead of those bothersome hackers.
Use two-step authentication…but play it safe.
Let’s get started with the best, proven-reliable steps to protect your passwords — and that means two-step authentication.
This allows you to secure your login to certain sites, such as Twitter or Facebook, by involving a mobile device in the equation. It can also mean verifying your login through your iPhone or iPad, usually requiring a six-digit login to make sure everything’s secure.
The only downside to this, obviously, is if your phone or another device that you have linked to the two-step authentication is stolen. The best solution to this problem is to set up a backup phone number on the account. By doing this, you can send the six-digit code to a secondary account. That way, you can continue logging in.
Two-step authentication is nearly foolproof. Hackers can’t access both your online account and your mobile device at the same time unless a deeper layer of identity theft is involved. Otherwise, it could be your best defense when you protect your password.
Individualized, unique local verification is tough to copy.
There is a better step than two-step verification, and that’s using personal biometrics.
This usually involves logging into a device with the help of your mobile device’s defenses. That means anything from using a Face ID to reading a fingerprint on your iPhone or iPad.
This is an excellent way to securely log into anything from a bank account to checking your social media accounts. That’s because even if your device is stolen, whoever took it won’t be able to log in – even if they somehow managed to get your password.
If, for some reason, you prefer to just use an old-fashioned approach and just want to protect your password, here are the next steps you can take.
Write it down, but keep it somewhere safe.
Keeping track of your passwords is a good move. That way, other trusted individuals can keep track of your accounts in case something goes wrong.
However, security is everything, especially when you’re trying to protect your passwords.
Write everything down, but keep your passwords secure in a place where only your loved ones can access them.
A safety deposit box may be a bit much. However, locking it up in a safe where they have access to a combination is a good way to go.
For good measure, maybe somewhere like “look under the pet cage” or “check my top drawer.” Just provide instructions where only they know where it is, and not, say, someone breaking into your house.
Keep passwords unique and uncommon.
While you’re at it, if you really want to protect your password, you’ll want to keep it unique — but just the right length.
Don’t make it something easy for hackers to guess, such as the name of your dog or an old birthday login you used in college. Stick with something that’s a combination.
For example, maybe something that combines the name of your favorite movie with your birthday, like Clerks329 with an exclamation point at the end. (No, that’s not ours, that’s just an example.) Maybe even your daughter’s name with her age attached to it, like Samantha31. (Again, just an example — we wouldn’t give out our password here.)
Whatever you do, though, don’t overcomplicate.
Some sites may ask for something along the lines of a 12-digit password, but don’t go beyond that. Doing so may force you to have to remember something complex, perhaps something along the lines of “The quick brown fox jumped over the lazy dog.” Go too far and you might end up forgetting it!
Keep it simple, something that you’ll remember but something that isn’t too easy to guess.
Keep it safe, keep it hidden.
So, to recap, two-step authentication is nice to have.
However, personal verification on whatever device you’re using is better when you protect your password.
For good measure, make the password something that’s easy to remember, but hard to guess. Make it something personal to you and your loved ones. Doing this, it’ll make it tougher to hack.
One last note, though.
Try to make sure you don’t use the same password for multiple sites. Mix it up. Otherwise, if someone gets a hold of it, all they need to do is use your login across the board. Your life could be over twice as quickly. Protect your passwords as a means of protecting yourself and those you care for.