Passwords are like keys to your online home. People often use simple words such as a pet’s name or easy to remember dates, such as a birthday. It’s important, more now than ever, to make sure your loved one has strong passwords that can’t be guessed easily.
Use the following tips to create secure passwords:
Choose a Strong Password
- It is recommended that passwords should be eight characters long. The likelihood of a longer password being guessed is slim.
- Try not to include any personal information, such as names of family members or pets, also don’t include recognisable numbers like the house number or birthday. This information can be readily available and make it much easier for hackers to access your loved one’s computer.
- Avoid using “real words” as much as possible. Instead, try a mixture or uppercase with lowercase letters, numbers and special characters such as “£” or “!”. This increases the complexity of the password and makes it harder for anyone to guess.
- Don’t make the password too difficult to remember.
Avoid Weak Passwords
A hacker could try your loved one’s name, birth date or even commonly used passwords. A weak password would be extremely easy for a hacker to use so try to avoid things like:
Keeping Passwords Safe
Don’t write them down. Let’s face it, it’s easy to forget passwords and everyone at one point will have written their password at one stage. However, this should be avoided as hackers can easily get passwords by looking through the bins or looking over shoulders.
If you think your loved one would need a written reminder, try to use a hint that only they will understand rather than the full password. Keep the written information stored somewhere safe, away from the computer. Write it down in an unmarked notebook so that it’s not obvious to other people.
Keep it fresh
- Use different passwords. Try not to use the same password for emails, online banks and clothing websites. Having the same password for all online presence is a security risk, if a hacker discovers the password, they will be able to access every account that shares the same password and potentially gain financial access.
- Changing passwords on a regular basis reduces the risk of any potential hacking.
A password manager is a tool that remembers all passwords for different websites and automatically fills these in for your loved one. Some internet browsers have built in password managers, but there are a few different programmes available.
- When the password is entered into a website for the first time, the password manager will ask if your loved one would like to save the password.
- They would then have the choice to save the password or not.
- The password manager will only work on one computer.
- Don’t use a password manager program on a public computer, so strangers can’t access the account.
The Two-Factor Authentication
This is an authentication method in which a user can only gain access after successfully presenting two or more pieces of evidence. First, your loved one will enter their username and password. Then, instead of gaining access straight away, they will be asked to provide another piece of information. This second piece of information could be:
- Something you know – This could be a PIN number, password or answer to a security question.
- Something you have – A physical bank card, mobile phone code or security token.
- Something you are – This would be slightly more advanced, such as a fingerprint.
A good example of two-factor authentication is taking money out of an ATM. Only the correct combination of a bank card and the correct PIN number will allow the transaction to be carried out.
Security at Home
These are some very useful tips which will help your loved one to stay safe online. If you feel that they need a little more security at home, our personal alarms could be what you are looking for. You can find out more about them here, or by getting in touch with our Customer Service Team on 0800 101 3333 or via email firstname.lastname@example.org.