Strong Passwords are Essential for Cyber Safety, Check Out BBB Tips

February 07, 2017

computer lockHow often do you update your password for online log-ins? Do you use unique passwords that would be hard to guess? If you answered never or no to these questions, it may be wise to consider auditing and updating your passwords for better cyber security. Better Business Bureau of Central New England hears of data breaches and internet security threats all too often. Safeguarding your information with strong passwords and frequent updates will help keep your identity secure. BBB tips can help you get started.

SplashData released their list of top used passwords for 2016. The results? Far too many people are using common words and phrases to secure their accounts. By using these weak, easily guessable passwords, many are at risk of identity theft. These are the top 10 passwords of 2016:

  1. 123456
  2. password
  3. 12345
  4. 12345678
  5. football
  6. qwerty
  7. 1234567890
  8. 1234567
  9. princess
  10. 1234

It is recommended you changes your passwords at least every six months. Sometimes after a data breach, information is held or sold and accounts are not accessed for months. “By changing your passwords frequently, you can avoid your account being hacked if your information was involved in a data breach,” said Nancy B. Cahalen, President and CEO of the Better Business Bureau of Central New England. “Use passwords that resonate with you for easy remembering and try to use different passwords for different accounts.”

Here are some tips to get you started

  • Use a combination of uppercase, lower case, numbers and special characters. This makes guessing much more difficult.
  • Use a sentence or phrase that you know well, like a song lyric or quote from a book. Take the first letter of each word in that phrase to create your sentence. For example, this sentence from Arnold Lobel’s “Frog and Toad” series of children’s books: “Frog and Toad agreed: it was a perfect day for a swim.” Take the first letter of each word and you get FaTa:iwapdfas.
  • Use different passwords for your accounts. By using separate passwords, if one account is hacked, the others should be safe.
  • Change often. Schedule reminders to update and change your passwords at least every 6 months.