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5 tips for creating a strong password

March 13,2020

Author: Martha Harbell

These days, we do so many things online – shopping, banking, booking vacations, watching TV, ordering groceries and more. All these sites require passwords, and many of them have your financial info – like the credit card you use for Amazon and Netflix. This gives hackers lots of opportunities to crack your password and steal your financial and personal data. If they manage to crack your online banking password, they can access your money directly. Here are 5 tips for creating the best password to protect your information.

1. Meet password requirements

Most sites will have basic requirements for good passwords, but even if they don’t, make sure to:
  • Use at least 8 characters
  • Include a mix of upper case and lower case letters, numbers, and special characters

2. Avoid obvious passwords

Many people use passwords that are really easy to guess - crazy easy. Some of the weakest (yet most commonly used) passwords include:
  • 123456
  • password
  • 111111
  • Qwerty
Come on, people.

Even passwords that you think are stronger, because they meet the minimum requirements, are still easy for hackers to guess.  For example:
  • Winter2020!
  • P@ssw0rd

3. Use a passphrase

Make your password stronger (plus easier to remember) by using a passphrase instead of a word. Hackers tend to collect common passwords and stolen passwords and then use them to try guessing yours. A passphrase – a sentence or phrase used as a password – is hard for hackers to guess but can still be easy for you to remember. Here are some examples:
  • KeepingEvery1SAFE!
  • Easy2remember&SAFER
  • 2bOrNot2bThatisthe?

4. Make your password hard to guess

Hackers browse social media for info that people typically use for passwords, so avoid using anything someone could guess from looking at your online profile, like:
  • Your birthday
  • Your pet’s name
  • Your address
  • Names of family members
  • Hobbies
  • Favourite sports team, band, or celebrity

5. Use different passwords for different accounts

If you have one password for all your accounts it might be simple to remember, but it also makes it easier for hackers. They could guess your Facebook password and use it to get into your online banking account. This is why you need different passwords for different accounts.

A few last tips

  • Change your passwords frequently
  • Avoid reusing passwords
  • Disable automatic password-save features in your browser

Learn more about protecting yourself

How to spot phishing emails and protect yourself
How to prevent e-transfer fraud
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