During the holiday season, millions of us will be logging on to websites and online accounts. Many of us make common mistakes that will increase our risk of identity theft.
The most critical step to protecting your sensitive financial is the use of strong passwords, as well as keeping them secure. Strong passwords protect online accounts and digital devices from data theft.
There has been a change in what cybersecurity experts recommend as a strong password. Many of us have been told to use a long list of random letters, numbers, and characters. Now experts are instead suggesting we a longer phrase such as “IWontForgetThisPassword!@2020.” By using a phrase, it eliminates the need to write down the password and expose it to risk. If the password is something that can be easily remembered, it encourages users to use longer, stronger passwords.
Here are some password tips:
- The longer the password, the better. Always use a minimum of eight characters.
- Make sure you are using a combination of letters, numbers, and symbols as shown in the above example.
- Avoid personal information such as birthdates, anniversaries, etc. Use phrases instead.
- Do not reuse or updated passwords. For example, changing Blate10! to Blate11! is not good enough. Be sure to use unique usernames and passwords for your accounts and devices.
- If given the option, do not use your email address as a username.
- Make sure you store passwords in a secure location.
Whenever it is an option, opt into multi-factor authentication. It adds another degree of protection by requiring an additional security code sent via text or email. An identity theft may be able to steal usernames and passwords, but it’s unlikely they would also have access to the cell phone to receive a security code to complete the login process.
As you are doing your online shopping this holiday season, remembering these important safety tips will help protect your sensitive financial information.