In a world where most of what we do is online, either out in the open or tucked away in the cloud, there is an incredible amount of importance placed on data privacy – in other words, keeping your private information, private.
Knowing that your online files and data are safely locked away is peace of mind we should all have. However, the rise in the global use of IT technology has come with a rise in the number – and skill – of hackers. This means that if you want your information to stay private in 2019, you’re going to have to put effort into keeping it that way.
So in light of this, and of ‘Data Privacy Day’ that falls on the 28th of January, we’ve put together some easy tips to set a safe password, as this is one of the most basic starting points when it comes to keeping your private information safe.
Studies show that the most commonly-used passwords in 2018 were “123456” and “password”, so there is a lot of work to be done!
The easier your password, the easier it is for someone to hack your online accounts. Hackers have great success using celebrity names, terms from pop culture and sports, and simple keyboard patterns to break into accounts because they know so many people are using those easy-to-remember combinations.
So, what’s the trick? Creating a password that’s unique to you, easy to remember and strong is the first step toward securing your online life.
- When creating a password, use a mix of characters: numbers, symbols, capital and lower-case letters.
- If the functionality allows, try and use at least 12 characters.
- Steer clear of using dictionary words in your passwords, you want your password to be entirely fictional.
- Don’t use obvious substitutes for letters in order to create what you can see as a dictionary word, e.g P@ssword.
A very solid approach to creating passwords is to think of a phrase or sentence and use the first letter of each word in your password. E.g. “My first pet was a dog named Bobcat. He died @ age 11.” Equates to a strong password of MfpwadnB.Hd@a11.
Alternatively, if remembering passwords is a major challenge, consider using browser plugins, like LastPass, that remember them for you. That way, all you need to remember is a single “Master Password”, and the plugin does the rest for you. The key to doing this properly is to create a super-strong master password (and one you’re not likely to forget) by following the advice above.
Let’s hope that 2019 is the year that we see a substantial improvement in the quality of the average online user’s passwords, and thus a substantial improvement in the strength of the protection that stands between hackers and our data.