Weak passwords are the potential reason why people get easily hacked in the 21st century. A simple password is the only thing that prevents hackers from invading your privacy and stealing sensitive data online.
According to a study by Avast, about 83% of Americans use weak passwords for social media, Amazon, Netflix accounts, which are very easy to guess. And more than 55% of people don’t see the need to change them even after a data breach.
Every password is hackable. Just like a thief can break in through locked doors, any persistent hacker can find even the strongest secure passwords on the internet.
However, that doesn’t mean you have to leave your house key at the door. Don’t do a poor job and protect your passwords by follow these initial tips to make a hacker’s job harder than ever.
1. Start with a strong password.
Choosing a strong password is the basis on which all your personal information relating to a website depends. Strong passwords are hard to remember, but no one can guess them all of a sudden.
It might surprise you that people still use passwords like “123456”, “[email protected]” and “letmein” which are easy to hack and are considered the weakest according to various studies.
According to Google, passwords of 12 or more characters with letters, alphabets, numbers, and symbols are difficult to crack. In addition, using a different password for each website is perfect for protecting against online fraud and security breaches.
So how do we choose a strong password that is hard to crack? There are many tools on the internet that you can use to generate long-character passwords. Just visit here, and you’re more secure than 83% of the population. It is a free tool by Avast to help you generate strong passwords in seconds.
2. Enable 2-Step verification.
Two-step verification adds an extra layer of protection to an existing strong password. Even if your password gets disclosed, no one can access your account without your phone.
Whenever someone tries to log into your account from a new device, you will be given a six-digit code to verify your identity. In addition, each security code is unique, so no one can guess it.
Two-step verification is so effective that it has become a standard security measure taken by most tech giants. Yet, most of the US population fails to understand its importance and gets hijacked by black hat hackers.
3. Avoid similar passcodes.
Never use the same password twice in your life. Humans are terrible at being random, which makes them vulnerable in the online world. Accounts using similar passwords on multiple websites got easily targeted, and sensitive data about their entire lives got leaked.
So, pick a new password for every new site you log on to the internet. Even if someone gets one of your passwords, it won’t affect other data because it is protected with a unique security pin. It makes hackers’ lives miserable and helps you maintain a strong base to reduce unnecessary damage.
4. Set-up Biometrics authentication
Instead of using a password, you can also use your fingerprint to unlock your online accounts. Social media accounts (Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, etc.), banking sites, and email services all support biometric verification.
Plus, fingerprint scanners on tablets, smartphones, and laptops are perfect to set up a quick physical token to access anywhere around the world. They are not only more secure, but they also ensure you never forget your password.
A fingerprint scan can also be used as a second layer to protect important accounts combined with a strong password. Even if your password is compromised, hackers will not bypass the biometric authentication part, and your data will stay secure.
5. Never share a password.
According to a 2016 survey by statista.com, people between 18 and 30 mostly share their passwords with friends and family. It includes passwords for bank accounts, social media, Netflix, and other online services. So don’t be one of them and protect yourself from online frauds.
Sharing passwords is a security risk greater than you ever imagined. As much as you trust someone, some things are meant to be private, and passwords are at the top of the list. American passwords are a common target for data breaches in major corporations of third-world countries.
The whole purpose of creating a password is to keep an account secret. Once you share it, it becomes a ticking time bomb that can explode at any time, revealing sensitive information about you and your loved ones around the internet.
6. Don’t fall for email phishing.
Email is still a great way to communicate in 2021. A 2019 study by the Radicati Group showed that more than 3.9 billion people have active email accounts, which is half of our total population and is expected to grow more than 4.4 billion by 2023.
Another study showed that phishing attacks increased by 72-86% from 2017 to 2020. That puts 3.9 billion people at risk, which is why email phishing should not be taken lightly. Be careful with your emails, and don’t click on suspicious links sent by strangers.
Instead of clicking on a link, you can copy and paste it into a private browser to better understand the sender’s intentions. If the link leads to a login or payment page, never enter your details. This is a common phishing attack used to get hold of your data by impersonating trusted parties.
7. Use a trusted VPN.
Using a VPN (Virtual Private Network) is the best way to deal with sniffing. Your ISP (Internet Service Provider) may sell your data like passwords, names, addresses, etc., to make extra money.
Even if your connection is hacked, no one can find your personal information. With a good VPN service, you can mask your data with a secure HTTPS tunnel that ensures to keep the information confidential. It stays encrypted in the VPN connection and keeps your online files out of the reach of hackers.
Plus, if you use public WiFi, then VPN is a must-have service that will prevent people from monitoring and capturing your data packets and passwords. Some of the best VPNs are NordVPN, ExpressVPN, CyberGhost, ProtonVPN, etc.
8. Use a good password manager.
Never write passwords on paper as they can easily be lost, and you will be left with a locked account. Plus, if someone finds your paper with the password, they will have access to your entire online accounts, and you won’t even know what hit you.
Password Managers will help you generate strong passwords that are much harder to crack. They keep your passwords locally, and no one can access them online.
A secure password manager can store passwords from multiple websites and keep them in sync at all times. It means you can use passwords on multiple devices and autofill login fields in no time.
Start using long-tail passwords of 12 or more characters with letters, alphabets, numbers, and symbols to protect your passwords online. Enable biometrics, VPN, and two-step verification. Also, create a new password for every website and never share a password even with your closest friends and family.
Now you can shop, bank, and browse without worrying about leaking your password to strangers on the internet.