Are you worried about hackers being able to either guess or work out your password, or the answers to your secret questions? Here are a few tips to help you out.
Never use a password which relates to yourself.
If you use a word which someone could associate with you, then people you know (who you wouldn’t always even suspect) could be getting into your accounts, without you even knowing. A friend of mine was a famous pianist in her town, and her password for everything was ‘piano’. One of the people who she thought were her friends guessed this password, and used it to read her private emails for many months.
You shouldn’t use your name, your partner’s name, or any of the names of family members. You shouldn’t even use the names of your pets, and it would be unsafe to have your password as the type of animal which you own.
Pick a random word
The best way to do this is to open a dictionary at a random page, and close your eyes and point to a word. If the word is shorter than eight characters long, pick again, and keep doing so until you find one.
If there are any letters in the word which correspond with numbers (eg i=1, e=3) randomly substitute SOME (but not all) of these letters into your password. This way, even if anyone guesses what the word is, they would never be able to work out which letters you had substituted.
If at all possible, include at least one punctuation mark in your password. You should try to use it somewhere in the middle of your password, as using it at the beginning or end is predictable. Some sites won’t let you use punctuation in passwords, but plenty do, and you should take the opportunity when it arises. You should use a completely random punctuation mark, and steer clear of the over used ones like full stops and commas.
Don’t use the same password for anything
Although it might seem hard to remember a lot of different passwords, you shouldn’t use the same password for more than one account. This is because if a hacker manages to get hold of one of your passwords, chances are they will be able to access every account you own if you use the same one. This is dangerous, as it could lead to them claiming your bank details if you use online banking, or getting access to your paypal account or other online banking system.
Never tell anyone your passwords
Even if you think you trust someone 100%, you should keep your passwords to yourself. Unless there is any major reason that they have to get into one of your accounts, they have no reason to know these, so it makes sense to protect yourself by not telling them to anyone.
Change your passwords periodically
Some people never change their passwords. Even changing them every couple of months is better than never changing them at all, so bear this in mind. The longer you go without changing them, the higher risk there is of somebody getting into your account and having access to a lot of your personal data.
With more and more information being sent over the internet now than ever before, this advice is more important than ever. Please stay safe, and always make sure you don’t write your passwords down anywhere for somebody else to find them.