Online accounts and digital devices are the keys to a lot of your personal information and you can help prevent access by following these tips:

  1. Use Strong Passwords called Passphrases - the longer and more complex your password is, the more difficult it is for it to be cracked. Don't use personal information that can easily be found such as your name, your pet or kids names, birth date, favorite color, etc.

  2. Create a Different Passphrase for every site or app - if your passphrase is known for one site or app, a malicious user will not be able to get to any other sites or apps using that passphrase because you don't use it on any other site.

  3. Consider using a Password Manager - after reading #2, you probably thought "that's impossible", but with a password manager, you can have a very complex, unique password for every site you use.

  4. Use 2-Factor Authentication wherever available - this adds another level of protection to your accounts as you have to not only enter your password (something you know), but provide another way to prove it is you, such as a code texted to your mobile phone (something you have).

  5. Avoid entering your password on public devices - you may not know if there is malicious software installed on a public device, which can capture your keystrokes.

  6. Avoid entering your passwords when connected to public or unsecured WiFi - passwords can be intercepted on unsecure connections.

Password Managers

A password manager is a program that allows you to save all of your passwords in an encrypted vault. In order to get into that password vault, you need to only remember one very complex password that you have created. In addition, some password managers help you create very long and complex passwords for each site you use. There are a number of free password managers and if you want more advanced features, some charge a fee. Below are two resources that explain some of the features and costs of the best password managers based on reviews.

Wired - The Best Password Managers to Secure Your Digital Life

Tech Radar - The Best Password Manager 2020

Why you shouldn’t use the same password for multiple accounts

  • Websites get hacked. It happens and this could expose your email, password, and security questions.

  • Remember, your password is only as protected as the website you are using.

  • Hackers will attempt to use passwords they have stolen on many different websites.