Passwords are the first line of defense against unauthorized entry to your accounts. In a world that is ever-growing with hacking and cyber attacks, it is important to take all the steps you can to protect your information, money, and privacy.
SolidTrust Pay is dedicated to making your time online with us comfortable and safe. This article will help you to understand your passwords, and what you can do to make your online experiences safer.
1. Don’t leave devices open, unlocked, or unattended.
The majority of us wouldn’t leave our wallets or purses unattended, so why should our computers/devices be any different? It’s 2017, and most of us use online banking, social media, or have personal files stored away on our phones and computers. Leaving your devices unattended, especially when they are open, is like indirectly telling a thief it is okay to take your wallet that is laying on an unsupervised table – it WILL be stolen. Keep your electronics close when you are out in public and do not leave them unlocked. This is also very dangerous when you have your information stored in your browser’s Autofill. Clear your cache, cookies, erase your browsing history, and disable your Autofill when you can (see paragraph 3).
2. Don’t write your passwords down.
As tempting as it may be, never write down your passwords. It may seem easy and convenient, but this puts your accounts at risk of being accessed by an unauthorized source. All it takes is for someone to snoop around your desk or in your bag, only for them to find a treasure trove of your passwords on a piece of paper! Make it difficult and inconvenient for people to access your accounts by not writing them down. What’s in your brain can only be accessed by you.
3. Never save your passwords in your browser when given the option.
This is important, especially if you are on a device that is shared with other users. Autofill options retain your data, and if someone other than you logs into a device where this is enabled, well, there’s no guessing when it comes to answering your security questions, usernames, and passwords. Autofill applications, which come preloaded in most browsers, arguably do more harm than good. Disable your autofill whenever you can. If you’re not sure how to do so, you can find helpful guides on Google (i.e., “how do I disable my autofill in Google Chrome?”).
4. Create a difficult and long password – use the Acronym Method.
A good way to create a strong password is to use the Acronym Method. Think of a lengthy sentence that will be easy to remember. For example:
My daughter was born on January 1, 1987
This sentence can be turned into an acronym:
This password meets SolidTrust Pay’s requirements (an uppercase letter near the middle, a lowercase letter, a number, a punctuation mark, and at least 6 characters long). The more capitals and punctuation you put into a password, the better. The same can be said for the length of a password. Bigger is better. We recommend adding memorable punctuation to the sequence. For example:
!! could be added because you were very excited (!!) when your daughter was born. Or how about:
My first bank account was opened at the Royal Bank of Canada, 2007
^$ could be added because you want more (+) money ($) in your bank account.
This method creates passwords that are easier to remember, versus a password that is created by a password generator. Make your password fun to remember, and choose something that’s unique to you.
5. Generate and store passwords with KeePass.
If your memory isn’t quite good, there is still hope. KeePass is a free open source password manager, which helps you to manage your passwords in a secure way. You can put all your passwords in one database, which is locked with one master key or a key file. So you only have to remember one single master password or select the key file to unlock the whole database. The databases are encrypted using the best and most secure encryption algorithms currently known (AES and Twofish).
6. Never give your passwords out to anyone.
SolidTrust Pay will NEVER ask for your passwords. This rule usually applies to all areas of the web. If someone is asking for your passwords to your online banking/financial sites and social media profiles, you should be asking why they require this information. If it seems a bit sketchy, it likely is. Be aware of phishing scams as well!
Although we cannot prevent hacking, we can all take steps to make it more difficult for hackers to access personal information – your password is your first defense, so make it count!