Hackerproof Passwords

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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. Use a combination of special characters, numbers, and both upper and lower case letters.
  4. Avoid using passwords that include information that can be easily discovered online like maiden names, high school mascots, and phone numbers.
  5. 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.

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