Put Your Password to the Test
The number one safeguard against cyber-attacks is the use of strong, distinctive passwords. Despite this being the first line of defense to protect your online presence, it is also one of the least commonly followed recommendations for cybersecurity. A few of the main complaints are that they are difficult to remember and that it is an inconvenience to use them each time you want to sign in to something.
Though that extra step of keying in a complex password each time may be frustrating, it is not nearly as devastating as dealing with a hacked account and the loss of your private information. Below are a few simple steps to ensure that your information is safe and secure behind your strong passwords.
The longer the better – Most online organizations and vendors, including MOSERS, require an 8-character minimum when creating a password. We recommend using a minimum of 15.
Create a story in your mind – Craft a phrase or short story with multiple words that you can picture in your head so it is difficult to guess but easy for you to remember.
Use unique symbols – Try adding a capital letter, symbols, and numbers in unexpected places. Additionally, avoid patterns or repetitions, such as letters or numbers that are next to each other on a keyboard.
Nothing personal – Never use personal information or identifiers as a password, such as birthdates or names.
Two-factor authentication – This adds an additional layer of verification to your login. Some sites have a secret word, some send you a text, and others may have an app that you confirm information on. It is advisable to turn this on wherever you see the option to help protect your online identity. We recommend using a password manager to assist in keeping passwords different for every online resource you log in to.
Change it up – Use different passwords for your online accounts and change your passwords regularly.
Don’t save it - If your internet browser asks for your approval to remember your passwords, always say no.
MOSERS also has specific password guidelines when creating an Online ID. They are as follows:
- 8 to 20 characters
- Combination of letters, numbers, and the following special characters (! # $ ( ) * + , . / : ; ? @ _)
- Case sensitive
- Must not be a previous password
- Must not be a Social Security number
- Must not be an Online ID
- Must not contain a space
- Consider not using whole words
- Consider substituting numbers for letters
- Consider a passphrase
- Consider an acronym of a phrase
- Do not write down your password
- Do not share your password with family or friends
- Do not use a password you use on other accounts
Now it’s time to put your password to the test and see if it is susceptible to breach.
If one of the passwords you use is on that list, remember, it is not too late to start improving the security of your online information!