3 Easy Ways to Keep Your Passwords Secure

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Protect your financial information with secure passwords. 

Do you use the same weak password for all of your accounts? Then your financial information may be at risk.

Digital hackers are trying to crack your login credentials and gain access to your data. All it takes is one hacker to expose your private information, putting your money, identity, and credit score at risk.

Ready for a cybersecurity overhaul? Here are three easy ways to secure your passwords to protect your financial future.

No. 1: Choose a strong password

Many people opt for a simple password and then reuse it across all of their accounts. 

Resist the temptation to do this. A password that is easy to recall is likely easy for a hacker to guess.

According to Porter Adams, a cybersecurity expert and co-founder of Disappear Digital, “Hackers steal your password either by guessing it or taking it from a data breach.”

Want to create a stronger, more secure password? Do these two things right now:

Create a unique password

“Use a long password to prevent hackers from guessing it,” Adams says. A long password that includes uppercase and lowercase letters, as well as a mix of numbers and symbols are more difficult for hackers to guess. 

iPhone and Android passwords tend to fail this test. Luckily, most smartphones now include Face ID or Touch ID features, which should be used in lieu of an input password.

People also tend to include personal information in their passwords. Unfortunately, this information, like the name of a relative or pet, can be easily found online. Opt for unique letter combinations instead.

Use different passwords

Don’t use the same login credentials across all of your digital platforms. A social media password should be different than a bank account password, for example.

“Use a different password on every website,” Adams says, adding that if one password is lost in a data breach, it won’t grant the hacker access to multiple sites.

No. 2: Write it down offline

So long as your home or office is reasonably secure, write down passwords and lock them away. Unless a burglar infiltrates your location, a password notebook is likely safer than storing passwords in a note or Google Docs.

“The safest option is to write your passwords on paper, because paper can’t be hacked!” Adams says.

Purchase a password organizer notebook to jot down login credentials. This low-tech method can protect against cyber breaches and minimize the chance that a digital hacker gains access to sensitive information. Just don’t lose the password notebook!

“Be sure to make a backup paper copy in case you lose the first one,” Adams suggests.

No. 3: Use a digital storage manager

One of the most secure ways to store passwords is by using a dedicated password manager, which assists in creating and storing complex passwords.

“Password managers are not just about storing and organizing your passwords,” says Charles Thomas, a financial adviser and the founder of Intrepid Eagle Finance. “They help you generate a unique password for each website or service you use.”

If one password is compromised, then hackers have a greater chance of accessing confidential information across sites. A password manager reduces this risk.

“The best password managers will also let you securely store notes and other information,” he says. For instance, to remember the security system code for a relative’s house, enter that information securely into a password manager.

There are two highly recommended digital password storage solutions: LastPass and 1Password.

LastPass

LastPass is a digital password software that is free, easy, safe, and accessible. “1Password tends to be best for folks that are Apple-centric with their devices,” Thomas explained.

1Password

Like its name suggests, users only have to remember one password with 1Password. The storage system is secure and can create strong, unique passwords for a variety of platforms. “LastPass is a better choice if you use devices that are more diverse, like a Windows laptop for some things and an iPhone when you’re on the go,” he said.

Bottom Line

Take steps to protect sensitive financial information from hackers by creating, managing, and storing passwords securely. Pick an organization solution — either a notebook or a password manager — and create a unique password.

Contributors

Porter AdamsPorter Adams was using the internet to help law enforcement track down missing persons when he realized how easy it is to find personal information online, including leaked passwords. Subsequently he co-founded Disappear Digital to prevent identity theft by removing your personal information from the internet. His upcoming book, “Why Hackers Win,” will explain the failures of cybersecurity and how so many things get hacked.
Charles ThomasCharles Thomas founded Intrepid Eagle Finance to help Christian families on their journey to find financial freedom. He works with families to achieve goals that balance what’s truly important with their finances. Charles is a Certified Financial Planner™ and holds an MBA from the University of South Carolina’s Moore School of Business.

How do you keep passwords organized? Let us know on Twitter @OppUniversity.

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