A new year can bring plenty of interesting new things, like ignoring our resolutions and losing our gym membership in the first week. The New Year can also be a good reminder to put fresh batteries in the smoke detector and change your passwords. Most people hate changing passwords but it is a necessary evil. The fraudsters are using everything from malware to phishing scams and everything in between will require you to update your passwords.
Some folks just use the same password for everything. While convenient, if somebody gets ahold of this one password, then they can use it to access all your accounts, just like giving them the key to your house, car, work, safe deposit box and mailbox in one go.
Secure Password Software
Secure password software can keep your passwords varied, and that probably is the best method, but only if you have access to, and use the software. There are good password programs out there, just make sure that they work as well on your phone and tablet as they do on your desktop or laptop, so that you can access your passwords over many devices.
Instead of software, one can always keep their passwords in a list in a password-secured Word or Excel file, or (better) a PDF file that can be opened on any device. Don’t call the file “Passwords”, by the way. Another is encrypted password management apps that you can have on your phone, or secure websites that store your passwords, such as Secure Safe or KeePassX. Pro-tip, don’t forget that password.
Common Key Method
There is another method of keeping passwords called the common key method, where you start with a “key” of five or six characters, which should contain symbols, a capital letter and a number, which according to experts, is very difficult to hack. Adding numbers onto the end can allow you to keep the “key” in place for future passwords, with only the numbers changing. For example, if you wanted to create your key as “JoeSm@!!”, you can add the year or a number that you can remember, and adjust each year, like “JoeSm@!!19” or always add 5 to the year so that’s “JoeSm@!!24” for 2019.
You can also use methods that use two or three word sentences that are easier to remember, but keep in mind you should still use capitals, numbers and special characters to try and prevent providing the hackers an easy button into your personal accounts.
Changing passwords is just one of the ways you need to keep your personal accounts and information secure. To keep your personal banking information secure, sign up for alerts that can notify you if someone has hacked into your online banking. Those alerts can send you a text message when someone other than you accesses your account, sets up a new payee or bill payment (which is a classic way hackers use to remove the money from your account). Most banks have these alerts in place on their online banking. To learn more, visit our encompasscu.ca website.