This week’s blog is all about safe guarding yourself online, which is much easier than you might expect. A person’s weakest (or strongest!) point online is usually their passwords. The majority of people use the same, or the same few, passwords for everything they do online, including financial sites, banking, retail accounts, etc. This combined with the usual “easy to remember” passwords used by most people, creates a larger potential for possible hacking.
In order to make your online identity more secure it is recommended that users change their passwords as often as possible. All lowercase passwords, or those that include easily identifiable information such as birthdays, home addresses, telephone numbers etc., could be cracked in a matter of days! Even more generic passwords, simple lowercase words like elephant, for example, would take less than a day to break! In order to avoid such potential threats to your own information it is recommended that users combine a mix of upper and lower case letters, symbols, and numbers, such as *Mty%$tb@U – this could take up to 4 centuries to crack! Slightly better, don’t you think? Test your password’s strength at www.microsoft.com/security, you’ll be surprised by the results!
In addition to strengthening your passwords themselves, making them unique to specific websites (aka using more than one password for all that you do online) will even further protect you. To avoid the risk of writing them down, there are password storage sites you can use, such as LastPass or 1Password, that store and remember all your passwords for small annual fees – plus they have mobile access for iPhone, Andriod, Blackberry and more!
These two simple steps will absolutely minimize the risk to your personal information while online and are worth the time to set up. Once complete you can bank and shop safely and know that there is no one that has access to your information (including your most recent shoe/tv/other gadget purchase) but you… and that is a wonderful thing.
Note: All information written and attributed to in this post is courtesy of Kiplinger’s Personal Finance Magazine and its respective authors, editors, creators and the like. We are not making any profit from this post, nor do we intend to make any profit from subsequent posts or mentions.