Welcome to our second tech tip, opens a new window post. In this blog, we'll share a few quick tech tips for good password management:
- Length > Complexity. Which of the following passwords is harder to crack: "0@tmeAlC0oki3s" or "Myfavorit3CookieisoftheOatmealraisinVariety!"? The answer may surprise you, but the second, longer password is actually tougher for hackers to guess! The reason is computers are doing the hacking, not humans. Longer passwords increase the number of data points a computer has to go through when guessing combinations and strings of letters and numbers. Short passwords with lots of symbols seem tricky, but a computer only has a few characters to crack versus a long passphrase of information.
- Use a passphrase over a password! Make your passwords easy to remember but hard to guess! Having the world’s most difficult password doesn’t do you any good if you can’t ever remember it. By using a passphrase, you can string together unpredictable words or phrases that may have little meaning to others but are easy for you to remember. Try to avoid using obvious things like dates or simple phrases and instead try something that seems completely random to the common consumer. For example, if your favorite team is the New Orleans Saints, instead of making your password “saints” or “brees” try something complex and long such as “Bree$isth3bestQBofAlltimeOnthe$aints!”. According to howsecureismypassword.net, opens a new window, the latter password would take 5 sexdecillion years to crack. Something like “Dr3wBr33s” would take a computer only three days.
- Your password is only as strong as your most secure website! Try not to use passwords over multiple accounts. Of course, we are all only human and trying to keep track of a million passwords may be difficult. However, it is of the utmost importance that you do not reuse passwords on any site that has your personal information. Some websites don’t have good security, and if you are reusing the same password on your banking website that you are using on your fitness tracker app or social media site you are making all of your information vulnerable.
- Consider a password manager. No, we don’t mean the ones in Google (think of what would happen if someone were to get into your Google account!). Password managers generate, retrieve, and keep track of passwords across all of your accounts. Many password management companies use the same encryption as the federal government. There are many companies to choose from, so do your research on reputable sites such as Consumer Reports, PC Magazine, and C-Net when comparing companies and what they offer. Note: pay special attention to the data privacy in the terms and conditions as well as the fees to use these services.
Above all else, just stay safe!