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Best Practices to Keeping Your Passwords Safe

By: TSP Blog | @TSProckstars

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Passwords are traded by cyber hackers as virtual currency. Think about it: everything in your life is protected with a minimum 8-character, one capital letter and one symbol, password. With critical personal information stored in cloud databases, having an optimal password is key. Follow these 4 tips as best practices to keep protecting yourself from any cyber threat.

CREATE A STRONG PASSWORD
You might think creating a strong password is straightforward, but many still play into the hacker’s hands too easily. First, you shouldn’t use any personal information in your password. This includes anything from your name, your childhood pet, your kid's name, the street you grew up on, etc. Second, you shouldn’t use real phrases either. Instead, create a longer password using a modified phrase that incorporates numbers, symbols and an interchanging of capitals and lower-case letters. Using these techniques, you can create a strong password that hackers will have a harder time decoding.

PASSWORD MANAGERS
A common mistake that many make when they create passwords is writing them down. Some even stick them on a post-it attached to their monitor. No one thinks they’ll be a victim of a cyber-attack or a hacker, but wouldn’t you rather be safe than sorry? Having your password out in the open certainly doesn’t keep your important accounts secure.

Instead of this, consider using a password manager. Use this tool to house all of your password information, usernames and other relevant information to securely stored with one master password. Password managers do the work for you by encrypting passwords. Additionally, many password managers will offer secure suggestions that are complicated and complex, making them difficult for cyber attackers to decipher. Lastly, some password managers offer an additional layer of protection — two-factor authentication.

TWO-FACTOR AUTHENTICATION
Two-factor authentication adds an extra layer of protection that requires you to pass through two security barriers in order to access the private data. Some examples of two-factor authentication are requiring a pin number, password or pattern, mobile number or a biometric indicator such as a Face ID or thumb print. These types of additional barriers make it more difficult for hackers to break in.

A great example that many don’t realize of two-factor authentication is ATM access. You must have a physical card and a pin in order to gain access to any account information or currency. This is just one of the many ways in which two-factor authentication is actively protecting your information. Imagine if all your information had two barriers to entry. Your information would be infinitely more secure.

TO SAVE IN BROWSER OR NOT TO SAVE IN BROWSER?
Internet browsers are now making it easier for us to save passwords directly into our internet browsers. Seems simple and safe enough, right? Wrong. Your internet browser is only as safe as your physical computer or smartphone is. If someone were to gain access to one or both of these devices, storing browser-saved passwords, they can easily gain access to your passwords and, in turn, your personal data.

While using your browser auto save and autofill passwords for ease and convenience. You’re ultimately setting yourself up to be exposed by a hacker. While it is still possible to store passwords on your mobile device, they should be held in a password manager app.

While nothing can ever be 100% secure, by following these guidelines, you make your passwords and your information more secure. However, passwords are just one part of the whole in data management and security.

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