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Posted November 14, 2017 by A-Jay Orr

3 Tips for Creating Secure Passwords In 2018

Hackers won some pretty big battles in 2017. E-Sports Entertainment, Xbox, Arbys, Saks Fifth Avenue, Gmail, DocuSign, Washington State University, Anthem, Verizon, Whole Foods, Hyatt Hotels and, of course — Equifax. Every industry is at risk. And according to the Pew Research Center, 65% of Americans have personally experienced a major data breach.

Nobody is safe from online security threats.

In many of the data breaches listed above, hackers cracked in using someone’s password. In other words, if you aren’t taking your password game seriously — your safety is a ticking time bomb. Pop quiz:
  • Do any of your online accounts share the same password?
  • Do you use actual words in your password?
  • Does your password start with an uppercase letter?
  • Do you use personal information to inspire your passwords?
If you answered yes to any of these questions — this article is for you.

Password security has changed immensely over the last year thanks to increasingly sophisticated hacker software. What you were told in 2016 is not what will keep you safe in 2018. Lucky for you, I have 3 genius tips to help you create hack-proof passwords that can stand up to today’s increasingly sly cybercriminals.


1. Use numbers and characters, but NOT how you think.

You should already know to use numbers and characters to make your passwords more complex. But did you know that substituting numbers for letters no longer works? The number “1” does not suffice as the letter “i”, nor does the number “0” make for a tricky “o”. Hacker software is on to this tactic. Instead, pepper in numbers and characters at random. All numbers should not be next to one another. The same goes for characters. You should also refrain from starting your password with a capital letter. Try starting with a character, instead.
 

2. Use code for an eight-word phrase.

Your password should not be a word, or a coherent phrase (i.e., “WinterTime"). These types of passwords are easily hacked with a brute force attack. Instead, think of a phrase that’s at least eight words long, and type it in code letters, symbols and numbers. A coded phase is easy enough for you to remember but harder for hackers to crack.

For example, if you are a big Buckeye fan, your password might be #1OsU(+)fn*Tw (Number one OSU football fan in the world). If song lyrics are more your jam, you can make a password like %mr.TmP*s4m (Hey, Mr. Tamborine Man play a song for me).
 

3. Lie when answering security questions.

Yep — I’m telling you to lie. Many of the answers to your security questions can be found by doing a simple google search on your name or by trolling your social media pages (or the pages of your friends and family). Just make sure it’s a lie you can remember.

Change your passwords every 90-120 days to keep hackers off your tail. Furthermore, never repeat the use of a password for accounts. Use password management software to keep track of them all. And if you wish to recycle your passwords, wait at least 18 months before you tag one in. Cybersecurity is only becoming more complex. There’s no end in sight.

Do you know what the easiest target is for hackers?

You and your employees. Beyond password protection, check out this article: 7 Security Mistakes Employees Make Every Day. The more you know, the better you can protect yourself and your assets.