Published: October 05, 2023 on our newsletter Security Fraud News & Alerts Newsletter.
Much is made of the importance strong passwords give to online account security, and for good reason. That’s because password cracking is often the first step for a hacker looking to break into an account – your account. A formidable password can make a cybercriminal give-up and move onto the next potential victim. But what’s also important and often overlooked is what not to do when creating a password.
The Don’ts of PII Passwords
The first step is acknowledging that your PII (personally identifiable information) can be easily found on your social media accounts. Posts about a birthday or anniversary don’t go unnoticed by friends and family, but also by the wrong people. Hackers use social media for a wealth of PII they can use to crack passwords. So, don’t make it easy for cybercriminals by posting PII, including important dates, nicknames, or addresses. They’re predictable, so don’t use them as passwords.
The Don’ts of Weak Passwords
There are other “don’ts” to avoid that make for weak passwords. Starting with password length, don’t make them short. A truly strong password has 12 or more characters, although many websites now demand a minimum of eight. So, don’t hesitate to go beyond the minimum password length required.
Making passwords easy to remember can also make them easy to crack, so don’t use whole words or common phrases. Creating non-sensical and random passwords goes a long way making a would-be hacker give up and move on.
Also, don’t use just numbers and letters for passwords. Be sure to include special characters and both upper- and lower-case letters. The more jumbled mix a password has, the stronger it is.
Don’t reuse passwords for other accounts. Using the same password more than once is risky since no one knows what information a hacker may have on a potential victim, including additional accounts. Should they crack one password, you can bet they’ll try it with your other accounts. So, don’t give them the keys to the kingdom by reusing passwords.
A strong, unique, and long password is always recommended for every account we have. Consider the “don’ts” of weak password creation as reminders of what not to do. In fact, do the opposite and you’ll be sure to have a secure password!
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