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Choose Privacy Week: Passwords

Passwords Should be Strong, Secret, and Changed Often

One of the best (and easiest) ways to protect your information and accounts is to create strong passwords. Once you have a strong password, keep it to yourself and change it regularly. 

The Department of Homeland Security recommends passwords be:

  • eight characters or longer,
  • difficult to guess - don't use personal information that is widely known to generate your passwords, like your birthday, children's or pets' names, etc,
  • creative - throw in some interesting spelling,
  • unique - do not reuse passwords across accounts, and
  • secret - do not share your passwords with anyone or write them down where they could easily be seen.

Password Managers

Set up a password manager, like LastPass. Use one master password to access a vault where all of your other passwords are stored. Password managers eliminate the need to remember more than password, keep your list of passwords encrypted and secure, and can generate hard-to-crack passwords for you.

Check out this list of the best password managers of 2017 from PC Magazine. Some of the companies reviewed offer free versions.

LastPass logo

A free password managing service.

Two-Factor Authentication

When possible, enable two-factor authentication to login to your accounts. Requiring a second layer of authentication increases the security of your accounts by making it much more difficult for hackers to gain access. 

Two-factor authentication requires a password and a second method of access like a text message with a security code sent to your verified phone number. Many of the services you already use currently offer two-factor authentication. Why not use it?

Services you probably already use offering two-step authentication include: Google, Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Snapchat, Tumblr, Twitter, and Wordpress.

Learn about accounts offering two-step authentication and how to enable it by reading this PC Magazine article.