Bank Smart: How To Safeguard Your Passwords And Account Info

With major online security breaches increasing in frequency, it’s more important than ever for us to be mindful of the information we choose to share online — and how that information is protected.

Passwords are a primary line of defense for your accounts in the online world. The more secure your password, the safer your information. Here are some ways to ensure your password and the information of the account it protects stay safe:

1. Choose a strong password.

Do not, under any circumstances, choose a weak password to protect invaluable information! While simple passwords like “password” or a common pet name might be easier to remember, they’re also among the least secure passwords you can choose. Something that is easily guessable will not reliably safeguard your information.

For a more secure password, use a variety of upper- and lower-case letters, numbers, and symbols (while certain sites may not let you use symbols in passwords, it’s always worth a try). Ideally, your password should be 12 characters or longer.

2. Use different passwords for different accounts.

Another risky move is to use one password for several or all of your accounts. If a criminal or other bad actor discovers one of your passwords, they suddenly may have access to a great deal of your online information. Again, while using one password may be easier for your memory, using different passwords for different accounts is far more secure.

3. Use secure browsers when using accounts with sensitive information.

Between Google Chrome, Firefox, Internet Explorer and Safari, all web browsers are not the same when it comes to security. Especially when logging into sensitive accounts, always be sure to use secure browsers.

4. Consider using a password manager.

A password manager, if it can be hidden away safely, could simply be a journal where you’ve written your passwords down. But there are also password managers you can use on a computer or mobile device that are encrypted to better protect your data. Some notable password protectors include Norton and 1Password.

5. Only share what’s absolutely necessary for your account.

The more secure your password, the safer the information on your account. But one worthwhile question to ask yourself is: “How much of this information is necessary to have on this account?” Certain sites ask for extra phone numbers, email addresses, or a home address when they aren’t necessary in order to use the service. When it comes to your account, always ask yourself how necessary the information is, and, in turn, how necessary the account itself.