Protecting Your Online Accounts


Creating Strong Passwords

Have you ever used a birthday as a pin number? Or maybe a pet’s name as a password? With the dozens of online accounts we’re asked to make, from online shopping and medical records to digital banking, having a password that’s easy to remember can make life a little easier. Unfortunately, it makes it a lot easier for hackers to find your personal information!

We know using longer passwords can be harder to remember; using passphrases is an easy way to create longer passwords without having to use a random series of numbers and letters. Set your passphrase to be a collection of two or 3 words, but make sure they are random! Anything like song lyrics or quotes can be easy for hacking programs to guess.

You can also create strong passwords by using uppercase and lowercase letters, numbers, and special characters.

If you catch yourself using the same password over and over for your accounts, password managers can also be a great tool to help you keep track of your logins. Even if you’re using your browser to store all your passwords, programs specifically designed to manage and store your passwords are often more secure and help you keep your accounts safer. Programs like Bitwarden, 1Password, Keeper, and RoboForm are highly rated program managers.

Multi-factor Authentication

Multi-factor authentication is an extra layer of security that can help insure that, even if someone has gotten ahold of your password, they cannot get into your account. When you enter your password, you will be prompted to enter a secondary, one-time passcode that will be sent to your email, phone, or be asked to answer a security question. Some multi-factor authentication also involves biometric security measures, like fingerprints scans!

Whenever possible, use multifactor authentication; with expert hackers constantly trying to find passwords, this gives you the extra security you need.

Other Tips for Online Safety

As we’ve talked about in this article, even if you follow cybersecurity best practices, your account can still be at risk. Career criminals continually search for username/password combinations to hack into accounts and access your information. Keeping your account secure involves periodic security checks. Here are some other tips to help keep your information safe:

  1. Change your password regularly. For important accounts, consider changing your password every few months. Doing this reduces the risk that your password might be guessed. If you’re having trouble coming up with complex passwords, you can also use a password generator to create strong passphrases.
  2. Antivirus Software- We’ll keep saying it! Getting antivirus software is a great way to protect your accounts from malware.
  3. Use secure Wi-Fi networks. Securing your personal Wi-Fi helps prevent someone from connecting to your network who will use it to access your information and accounts. Like your account passwords, choose something that is harder to guess and consider changing the password regularly.
  4. Be cautious when using public Wi-Fi. When in public and using your local coffee shop’s Wi-Fi, it’s best to use a VPN. A Virtual Private Network (VPN) can help you stay secure by essentially hiding your IP address, location, and online activity on public networks that can be easily hacked into.
  5. Sign up for alerts. For more important accounts, look into signing up for alerts. They can let you know when your balance has reached a certain amount, whether a transaction has been made, and even if there has been a login attempt on your account.
  6. Check data breaches. There are many online, free services (like that will quickly check if your email, username or passwords have appeared in a data leak.

Even if you are incredibly diligent and cautious when it comes to your online activity, you can still be at risk. Following these practices can help keep your account secure when it comes to things outside of your control.


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