Creating a secure password is one of the first steps that users should consider to protect their accounts – and therefore their data – online.

In today’s digital world we use passwords to access a lot of information, from email to social networks, to banking applications and more.

Basically, if someone could have your password, they could get all the personal and financial information associated with your accounts. For example, they could access your email, social media, online banking, e-commerce, and so on. Once you have control of your accounts, a hacker may execute unauthorized transactions, open new accounts on your behalf, or even use your personal information to commit crimes such as fraud or identity theft.

Despite this, many people don’t realize the importance of having a secure password and often use easy to guess passwords or the same password for all their accounts. This happens because there is a tendency to believe that hackers are only interested in big business data, but that’s not true, password theft is more common than you think.  According to a Verizon report, 81% of cyber attacks are caused by weak or stolen passwords. In addition, 65% of users use the same password for more than one account.

What are the 10 ways to make a password more effective?

In this article, we will give you some useful tips to create a secure password and protect your data. We will explore the importance of using unique passwords for each account, the ideal length and complexity of a password, choosing the right characters, and more. We will also tell you some tricks to remember your passwords safely and reliably.

Specifically, we will see how:

  • Use a proper password length
  • Use a unique password for each account
  • Use strong passwords
  • Do not use personal information
  • Change your password regularly
  • Use 2-factor authentication
  • Using a passphrase
  • Using the first letters of a sentence
  • Using password managers

With Ermes tips, you’ll not only protect yourself from online breaches, but also have peace of mind knowing that all of your personal data is safe. Let’s start!

Use a suitable length

The length of the password is important: the longer the password, the harder it will be to crack it. We recommend using passwords of at least 8-12 characters. However, many organizations recommend using even longer passwords. For example, according to 1password, a password should be at least 20 characters long.

Use a unique password for each account

Avoid using the same password for more than one account. If you have the same password and a hacker can find it, they’ll have access to all your accounts, not just one. In addition, the password must be different from those used previously. If you have trouble creating unique passwords, a password manager can help you create and store strong passwords.

Use strong passwords

To be considered “complex” a password should contain at least eight characters and include letters, numbers and symbols. Avoid using common words, such as “password” or “123456”, as these are among the most common and easily guessed passwords. In addition, it is best to avoid using words in the public domain or that can easily be associated with you, such as your pet’s name or your birthday.

Do not use personal information

It is essential to avoid using personal information like your first name, last name, date of birth, first name of spouse or children, because they are easily guessed. Also, avoid using common words, obvious numerical sequences, or the name of the website or company where you’re creating the account.

Change your password regularly

Changing your password regularly helps prevent long-term password breaches. We recommend changing your password at least once every three months. In addition, you should change your password immediately if you suspect that it has been compromised.

Use two-factor authentication

Two-factor authentication adds an extra layer of security to your password. To access your accounts this technology requires a second authentication factor, such as a verification code sent to your phone or a fingerprint, in addition to the password. This way, even if someone were to discover your password, they could not access your data without having your second authentication factor available.

An additional layer of protection can be provided by products such as YubiKey where two-factor authentication does not take place over the network or on software, but through USB sticks that do not allow data storage. 

Use a randomly generated phrase

A randomly generated password, using a combination of numbers, uppercase and lowercase letters, and symbols, is one of the safest options. An example of a randomly generated password could be something like “szb#kt%8! 7hN”. This password may be difficult to remember, but it is highly secure.

Use a passphrase

A passphrase is a series of random words put together to create a password. Phrases have the same security as passwords with random characters, but are easier to remember. For example, the phrase “three pink kittens” can be converted into the password “3GattiniRosa!”. This type of password can be easier to remember and therefore less likely for you to forget it or feel the need to write it somewhere.

Use the first letters of a sentence

A useful technique to create a strong but easily memorizable password is to use the first few letters of a meaningful phrase for you. For example, “My first dog was called Fido” becomes “MFdwCF!”. This password is complex enough to make it difficult for hackers to access your accounts, but it will be easy for you to remember.

Use a password manager

A password manager – such as 1password or lastpass – can help you create and store unique and strong passwords for each account. This way, you won’t have to remember all your passwords. In addition, some of these managers have additional security features, such as real-time verification of the actual password security.

Here, now you have all the ingredients to create a secure password and protect your accounts.

In summary: Use a long, unique and strong password for each account; change it regularly; use two-factor authentication and if you can’t remember your passwords; opt for a password manager. Also, avoid using personal information or common words. With these tips, you are less likely to be hacked.

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