5 Simple steps for better password security

Another day, another hack.

Barely a day goes by without an announcement that millions of passwords and account details have been offered for sale online. This week, it's the turn of Myspace - remember them?! The hacked details seem to be legacy accounts that no-one has used for a very long time. Myspace have now blocked all of the compromised accounts and say that no personal data is at risk. Most hacks aren't solved that easily though, so here are five simple tips to keep yourself and your data safe online.

1. Use proper passwords

"We play a game called guess the password in both parent and pupil workshops - and we always catch people out!"

Despite widespread publicity, people still use the old favourites - ADMIN, PASSWORD, 123456, etc. This issue is so important that Microsoft are going to stop people using simple passwords, and as immunizeNet wrote about last week, Google are soon going to stop using passwords completely! Make sure your password is complicated by including numbers, upper and lower case letters, and special characters such as £, % or &. 

2 - Change your password every 3 months - like your toothbrush 

Our internet safety survey results suggest that almost 80% of people never change their passwords, or do so only very occasionally. You should really change your password every time you change your toothbrush - either once every 90 days, or when it's 'not clean' anymore.

3 - Remember your passwords

Let's face it, we all have so many apps and devices and passwords that it's hard to remember them all. Simply try to log out and log back in when you use your device or app. That way, you'll have to type in your password every time, and as we all know from exam revision, writing it out makes you remember it! And don't use the password keychains - you'll never remember any passwords that way!

4 - Don't use the same password for every app 

It's tempting, mainly to avoid forgetting which password goes with which app/account. But don't do it - if one account gets compromised, then so do the rest. A simple trick is to use the same format of password, but change some numbers or letters according to the app you're using. For example, you could add FB to the beginning of your password for Facebook, or WA if you use Whatsapp.

 

5 - Don't use real answers to real security questions!

When you choose your security questions, don't put the real answers in. Some of the questions contain very personal data that the internet doesn't need to know. Mix and match your answers -  I know for sure that I wasn't born in a Red Ford Fiesta, and my first car definitely wasn't a London. In many cases, the true answers to the questions might already be on your social media pages, so make double sure that you're not giving clues away! 

Keeping your passwords secure is one of the most important things you can do to ensure that you stay private and stay safe!

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