I've been getting a lot of questions lately about creating hackerproof passwords. While I don't think any method is 100% secure, here are some password tips to prevent an account from being hacked:
- Use different passwords across your accounts. A hacker that obtains your email password can attempt to use the same password to hack a bank account or any number of online accounts. Many consumers are reluctant to create entirely unique passwords for every account due to the improbability of remembering so many passwords. I recommend having a similar pattern for passwords to make them easy to remember yet difficult for an automated mass attack. For accounts used for banking it is worth having an entirely unique password.
- Activate two-factor authentication or login alerts. Many large websites offer two-factor authentication as an added layer of security. Two-factor authentication often requires a one-time PIN code to be sent to a phone when a risky login is detected. This not only immediately prevents a hack but can also alert a user that their password may be compromised. Often times, two-factor authentication can be turned on in the security settings of your online account.
- Use a combination of special characters, numbers, and both upper and lower case letters.
- Avoid using passwords that include information that can be easily discovered online like maiden names, high school mascots, and phone numbers.
- It is essential to balance the complexity of passwords. Do not create passwords that are so complicated that they need to be written down or that require a password reset on every login. However, create enough disparity between passwords so that if one online account is hacked, all of your accounts are not compromised.