Data breach in the United States is on the increase and the only way to protect your online accounts is by using stronger and more secure passwords.
As of July 2021, about 3,980,757,735 breached records have been noticed in the United Kingdom.
According to the Risk-Based Security’s 2021 Mid Year Data Breach QuickView Report, it shows that there have been 1,767 publicly reported breaches in the first six months of 2021 globally, which exposed a total of 18.8 billion records.
In this blog post, we will answer the following questions:
- What does it mean to have a strong password?
- Why is having strong passwords important?
- How can I protect myself with strong passwords?
How Car Keys Are Likened to Your Online Passwords
So, just imagine you live in Albuquerque, New Mexico known to be the number one city in the United States with the highest vehicle thefts with a motor vehicle theft rate of 1,181 vehicles per 100,000 residents and you just got a new car. Those without car insurance quotes are the hardest hit of motor theft.
A vintage 1970 baby blue convertible, to be specific.
You’re very proud, so you park it right in front of your home.
You want to keep your car safe because you worked hard for it, not to mention it’s how you intend to move around henceforth, and even though it’s new you already have some important stuff in the trunk.
How can you keep your cool new car safe so that you will be driving and enjoying it for years to come?
When it comes to the safety of your new car, leaving the car unlocked or handing your car keys to a stranger is a wrong idea, or don’t you agree?
Just like keys help keep your car safe, passwords help keep your accounts and devices more secure.
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That’s why passwords should be used, protected, and not shared with just anyone. Not just any type of password but a more secure password.
The first and most important way for you to protect your online accounts and yourself, and your devices are by using strong, more secure passwords.
Think of your passwords as keys, only that instead of granting access to your car or home, passwords grant access to all the important personal and business information you keep online and on your computer, phone, and other devices.
In other words, passwords are extremely important when it comes to securing your small business network, online accounts and devices from hackers.
Yet most often, we make the mistake of using passwords that are easy to guess, like our birthday, the street we live on, or other information someone could easily find out.
Good passwords need to be as hard to guess as possible.
That’s why it helps to make your passwords long and complex.
How to Choose a More Secure Password and Protect Your Online Accounts
How do you choose a more secure password and protect your online accounts? When choosing a password, try to make it something more than just a word, phrase, or sequence of numbers.
A good rule of thumb is to use a mix of upper and lowercase letters, numbers, and symbols.
For example, if you know you’ll always remember the phrase “I drive a vintage 1970 baby blue convertible” you could turn that into the password “[email protected]” or even better add in some capital letters to make it “[email protected]”
Don’t use the same password for all your accounts.
If someone gets access to your one password, they’ll have access to all the accounts you use it for.
Instead of using the same password throughout, think of adding additional complexity for each account.
For example, you might add GOO to your Google password to make it “[email protected]”
Note: Change your passwords regularly, and change them immediately if you suspect you’ve been hacked.
The first thing you need to do in the case of a security breach is getting back control of your account.
Having complex, unique passwords is important but can make them hard to remember.
This is where a password manager can come in handy.
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How to Use a Password Manager to Increase Your Online Security in the United States
Just like a key holder helps you keep track of multiple keys, a password manager helps you keep track of multiple complex online passwords.
One option is Google Chrome’s built-in password manager, passwords.google.com.
This manager can save website passwords so you can use them on Chrome on any device and even on some Android apps.
This way, you only need to remember your Chrome password to log in to all (or most of) your accounts.
NOTE: Using a password manager doesn’t automatically make you safe and secure.
If you decide to use a password manager, remember you should still be careful about letting other people use your devices.
For an extra layer of security, you might consider enabling 2-Step verification.
This form of strong authentication requires more than just your username and password when you sign in to your account.
For instance, it may ask you to enter a 6-digit code sent to your phone.
Many places where you have to log in to access an account will ask you if you’d like to set up 2-step verification, and it’s always a good idea.
Just like your keys could get stolen and used to break into your car and drive it away, your passwords could be stolen and used to break into your accounts.
Luckily, there are some common ways of stealing passwords that you can look out for to avoid it happening to you.
What are the factors that expose your online accounts to hackers? One major way you might get your passwords stolen is by downloading scam software from the Internet, logging into accounts from public computers where someone’s installed a program to steal info, or clicking on links in pop-ups or email messages.
Often hackers will email you asking you to click a link that will seem like you need to enter your username and password, but are fake websites made to look like login pages.
You wouldn’t hand just anyone your keys to a total stranger, or will you?. It’s the same with passwords – if you need to share, do it only with people you trust, and change passwords often.
If you have a Wi-Fi system that many people use or a strea.ming service account that you share with friends and family, make sure the passwords aren’t the same as your other important accounts.
Also, make sure anyone you share your passwords with knows password best practices, too.
You don’t want them going around sharing your security questions, or falling for a scam and entering your info.
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Add an Extra Layer of Protection to Your Online Account
Now that you know the importance of a good password and what goes into one, ensure to take the necessary measures to secure your accounts now. Using a strong password and a 2FA are great ways to protect your online accounts from hackers.
So we’ve come to the end of this tutorial, but before we go, let’s see our recap.
Takeaways to Increasing Your Online Account Security
- Good passwords should be long and free from personal information that’s easy to guess.
- It should contain a mix of upper & lowercase letters, numbers and symbols.
- A password manager can help you manage & use your multiple complex online passwords.
- Be mindful of your passwords being stolen, and only share your passwords and devices with people you trust. Check out other six ways to protect your business online.
So that’s it, dear small business owner. This is how to protect your online accounts with stronger, more secure passwords. You can use a highly effective strong random password generator to help you come up with passwords that you can easily remember.
If you have questions or reservations please leave them below and I will do my best to answer as soon as I can.
By doing so, we will be helping small businesses in the United States and across the globe stay safe and secure online. In subsequent articles, we will discuss how to secure your privacy while using the internet as a student in a US college..