8 Ways to Build a Better Password
Despite rampant risks from hackers, most people (nearly 65 percent) use the same password over and over again. That means they type in the same credentials whether they’re logging in to check their credit card balance or to swipe left on Tinder. If this sounds like you, you aren't alone, but hackers can use that to their advantage. And breaches cost more than privacy – small startups can pay $200,000 dollars to fix what a hack attack broke. So here are some strategies to build better passwords to help slow and stop hackers in their tracks.
1. Change it up.
While it’s tough to keep multiple passwords straight, create different passwords for all of your social platforms, apps (from delivery services to online dating), e-mail, banking (don’t use the same pin number either) and more. And then change them all every six months at most to protect your information.
Read more: 8 Simple Ways to Minimize Online Risk
2. Be smart about storage.
If you are storing your passwords on your computer, be sure not to label those folders with names like social media passwords or banking passwords. And if you’re the type to jot those secret passwords on a Post-it you place on your monitor – now’s the time to take that down.
Read more: Why Your Password is Hackerbait (Infographic)
3. Look into a password manager.
Multiple tools have emerged to make wrangling passwords as easy as possible. LastPass, 1Password, Dashlane and KeePass are some well-regarded options. Find the one works for you and your needs.
Read more: How to Create a Super Strong Password (Infographic)
4. Degree of difficulty.
Avoiding classic bad passwords is always a good first step. That means you’ll need to cross “12345,” “password,” “mypassword,” “password123,” “access,” “admin” all off your list.
Read more: People Are Still Using Terrible Passwords
5. Two-step authentication.
Multiple step verification creates more than one way to prove your identity. For instance, you set up accounts with Google and Apple to text you a unique code to punch in after you log into your account to verify that the person logging into your account is the right one. If you are utilizing the cloud, make sure that whatever service you use has servers that are encrypted as well.
Read more: Why You Shouldn't Be Afraid of the Cloud
6. Jumpstart your memory.
Instead of mixes of letters, numbers and symbols, think of phrases or mnemonics to use for your log in instead. Bring in your favorite vacation spot, your first pet’s name, the best concert you ever went to. Anything personal and unique to you will be something you’ll easily remember and be slightly harder to hack.
Read more: Do You Really Need to Change Your Passwords Every Three Months?
7. It’s all about the timing.
While it is important to stay on top of changing passwords, stagger the shift from one to another so your new password doesn’t get stolen, too.
Read more: 4 Ways to Protect Yourself From the 'Heartbleed' Bug
8. Look to the future.
Remembering passwords is frustrating right now, but soon technology will be more widespread to allow you to log in to more of your accounts using your skin, finger prints, heartbeat, voice or face. While that day’s not here yet, it’s a comfort to know it’s on the way.
Read more: 3 Biometrics Startups Heating Up the Password Security Race
Nina Zipkin is a staff writer at Entrepreneur.com. She frequently covers leadership, media, tech, startups, culture and workplace trends.