This Simple Practice Will Keep You Safe Online

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The internet can be a dangerous place. With data breaches, scams and malware seemingly lurking around every corner, protecting your online privacy has become a daunting task. Fortunately, according to cybersecurity experts, there is one important thing that you can do immediately to help ensure that you stay safe online: create complex passwords. Taking this simple security measure seriously can greatly reduce your exposure to these digital threats, protecting both your sensitive personal data and financial information.

You’re likely already aware of the importance of using strong, unique passwords for each of your critical accounts. We live in an era of widespread corporate hacks, where one database breach can reveal hundreds of thousands of user passwords. If you reuse your passwords across several websites, a hacker can take the leaked data from one attack and use it to gain access to your other private accounts. This is often how cybercriminals gain access to their victim’s banking information. For convenience, the vast majority of us reuse our passwords, paying little attention to the different information stored within each account. If a criminal hacks your library card account, besides your address, there is little information that they can use to disrupt your life. But if you use the same password to login to your bank’s online services, they now have access to an array of personal and financial information that can negatively affect you.

Creating Secure Passwords

Last year, SplashData, the creator of  award-winning password management software, released its list of the 25 most used passwords for 2018. These passwords also possess the dubious distinction of being the worst passwords you could use for your online accounts, yet millions of internet users continue to protect their sensitive personal information with them. The top 6 most used passwords were: “123456,” “password,” “111111,” “sunshine”, “qwerty” and “iloveyou.” In the United States alone, it is estimated that over 10 million people use the password “123456.” This underscores the importance of creating unique and strong passwords for every online account you possess.

When creating a secure password, make sure to include uppercase and lowercase letters. You should also include numbers in your passwords, but ensure that they are not sequential in order or linked to personal life events such as your date of birth or anniversary. Also, avoid including easy to locate personal information like your phone number or home address in your passwords. Symbols are an excellent addition to any password, making them far less likely to be hacked. This is why we request that all SolidTrust Pay e-wallet users create passwords that include one uppercase and lowercase letter, a number, a symbol and contain a minimum of 6 characters. These security requirements help ensure that your personal information remains secure.

Manage Your Passwords with a Free Password Manager

Now, you’re probably asking, “how do I easily keep track of all my unique passwords?” Letting your browser store your passwords is not recommended, nor is writing them down. Both of these solutions leave you vulnerable to password theft. Instead, use a password manager to help store and create strong passwords for all your online accounts. These tools will create unique and secure passwords for you and automatically save them in a protected database. All you do is open the program and drag your login credentials to the appropriate sign in box. It’s that easy.

For a list of 2019’s best password managers, read PC Magazine’s article “The Best Free Password Managers for 2019.” At SolidTrust Pay, we use KeyPass, a free open source password manager that allows us to store all our passwords in one database which is secured by a master key. Once you login to KeyPass, you will have access to all your passwords and usernames organized by account. In addition to being free, KeyPass is open source software. In the cryptography world, public security is always deemed to be more secure than proprietary security. This is true for cryptographic algorithms, security protocols and security source codes. For security purposes, utilizing open source software is a smart engineering practice.

We hope that this post has encouraged you to reevaluate how you create and use online passwords. As one of the easiest steps you can take to safeguard your personal and financial information on the internet, we urge all of our valued members to create strong, unique passwords for each of your critical accounts. By taking this preventative measure, you can prevent serious frustrations later on.

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