In Cyber Safety, The Digital World

How Secure is My Password? Tips to Improve Online Security

Today, there is an increasing threat of cyber warfare, one that is nearly as dangerous as physical warfare. Stealing credit card information and personal information from millions of individuals daily is causing chaos and plenty of debt worldwide. Understanding how secure your password is and how to stay safe on a variety of different online platforms is a way to put your mind at ease any time you are browsing the internet, whether to check your email, book travel accommodations, or make a purchase from anywhere in the world.

Why You Need Secure Passwords

With leaks of millions of passwords happening globally everyday, maintaining a strong password is essential, regardless of the number of accounts you have registered to your name. Even if you believe your password is strong enough, knowing how to create secure passwords that are much less likely to be hacked and discovered is a way to put your mind at ease, whether you are chatting with others or entering your credit card and banking information online.

Depending on the amount of time you spend online, changing your passwords should be done at least once every six months. Although it may seem like a hassle, it is much more of a hassle to recover stolen accounts while also recounting what lost information you may have saved within important emails or business accounts of your own. Read more on The Importance of Web Protection in our article here.

If you have hundreds of passwords online, there are also programs and thumbprint checkers to ensure you are able to store all of your passwords in one location, depending on your preferred method of protection and security when browsing the internet. Using a third-party password saver and store service online should only be done through verified and legit services available for enterprise customers.

What Makes a Password Secure?

Creating a secure password greatly depends on the type of password you are in need of and the website the password is used on. Understanding some of the most common passwords can help you steer clear from creating accounts that are not secure and that may potentially leak sensitive and private information of yours to others. Here are a few basics to avoid when creating any type of password:

  • Basic names and addresses
  • Pet and children names
  • Phone numbers
  • Address numbers
  • Names with simple numbers added to them
  • The word “password” (still the number one password used to date!)

Tips to Add Strength to a Password:

  • Use both upper and lower-case letters
  • Randomize words to create passwords and store them offline to remember them
  • Use symbols and specialized characters such as “$” “!” and other symbols allowed when crafting passwords for any purpose
  • Avoid using known names, hobbies, or even famous celebrities and last names to minimize the potential of having any of your accounts compromised
  • Use different passwords on all of your websites and the communities you belong to online. Even if you belong to hundreds of online communities, it is possible to store passwords securely with devices and various tools
  • Be sure to use more intricate passwords for banking websites and any online communities that hold more personal information than others, such as online gaming websites and blogs.

For more information on password protection, check our Real Life Secure Password Guidelines here.

Checking Password Strength

If you want to know how strong our password is, you can do so by attempting to register on well-known websites and communities, and using third-party tools and online security checkers. Before entering any form of the passwords you use on any website online, be sure to find a verified website that is legitimate and is not looking to harvest emails and passwords from users.

Why Password-Protect a Folder?

If your computer is ever compromised, there is no way to tell which files and folders will be viewed by those who have access to it. To ensure your financial information and private property are safe and secure, be sure to password-protect all files and folders. You can password-protect files with the same method of password-protecting the folders you do not want viewed, edited or accessed by others who normally have access to your computer.

How to Password-Protect a Folder

It is possible to password-protect a folder right from your own computer’s desktop, and you can also invest in third-party security software. Once you have located and selected the folder you want to protect, right-click the folder and select “Properties”. A tab will appear with the term “Security” on it which can be selected. From this menu, you have the option to choose whether other users have the right to modify, view and edit the folder. Adjust these settings as you see fit, and saving your choices will complete the process of setting the necessary security measures on any of your computer’s folders.

Retrieving a Lost Password

At times, losing a password can be extremely frustrating. If you are left wondering “what is my password?”, there are a few solutions to help with retrieving it and getting back access to your account.

Most online websites, blogs and communities today provide a password recovery system that allows you to reset and recover your password. When you use a reset password or password recovery system, the information necessary to reset your password is sent to the original email address used to sign up with the account in the first place. If you do not have access to your original email address, you may need to recover your password from your email company itself prior to moving forward with additional password retrieval attempts.

If you are still unable to retrieve a password and you want to know how secure your password is with a specific website, consider submitting a help ticket or chatting with a representative live. You can read about a personal experience with identity theft in this article on TheGuardian.com, where a victim explains how her Skype account was taken over.

Saving Passwords and Public Internet Connections

Whenever you are in public and you are using a public internet connection, it is essential to check that you are using a “public” location when connecting with those around you. When you choose to allow your private network to operate publicly, it is much easier for any hacker, thief or online predator to gain access to your device and know and steal information about you.

Ensuring you have a password checker and that you have implemented security on your internet modem and wireless router can be done manually and with the assistance of your internet service provider, whether it is for a home or a business network.

Always be sure to inquire about public internet connections when you are traveling to ensure you still have the ability to connect privately and securely. You can read more about protecting your online privacy in this article on INC.com.

Reset Your Wireless Internet Password

Having a secure password for your private internet connection is a must, as it prevents strangers from using your secure network. Although you may think that anyone using your internet connection is simply slowing down your speed, they may also be digging through personal information, installing spyware and tracking all of your spending and financial records without your knowledge.

Each wireless internet router differs, which is why it is important to check the make and model number of your router before attempting to set or reset your password. Knowing how to store passwords securely is a way for you to feel more confident, regardless of who is using your computer and internet connection at any given time. You can read more about how to setup a wireless router in this article on PCWorld.com.

Once you are able to reset your router password, you can use a password you have chosen yourself or with the help of a randomized password generator. It is highly advisable to use a randomized password generator and to store your passwords in an offline location for future use or reference. The more complex any router password is, the less likely it is to become a potential target for anyone seeking free internet access or wanting to place malicious software on your private internet connection.

The more you understand about online security and using proper passwords, the less likely your accounts are to become potential targets for thieves, hackers and online scammers. Maintaining a highly-secure password does not only make it difficult for others to gain access to your information, but it also ensures you have as little vulnerability as possible online, whether you are simply chatting with others through an open server or using an online checkout system to make a purchase.

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