If you use the internet on a regular basis, chances are you have to log in to one or more of your private accounts. Email accounts, social media accounts, online bank accounts, and more, most platforms that contain your personal information require you to sign in with a unique username and password to ensure your data is protected. While usernames are often easy to come up with (e.g., your email address, first and last name, etc.), learning how to make a strong password can feel daunting—especially because cybercriminals are getting better at hacking every day.
Because it is National Cybersecurity Awareness Month, Landmark National Bank is here with information from the Cybersecurity & Infrastructure Security Agency on how to make a strong password for all your online accounts—but most importantly, your online bank account.
The Current State of Password Breaches
According to Verizon’s 13th annual Data Breach Investigations Report, 80% of hacking-related breaches over the past year were directly tied to lost or stolen credentials (passwords being a part of these credentials). In addition, a large number of these breaches were caused by phishing scams—or online schemes in which cybercriminals create fake emails, phone calls, or text messages to appear as if they were sent from a legitimate source.
Cracking The Code For Strong Password Creation
Learning how to create a strong password for your online bank account is crucial for protecting your financial security. Fortunately, with these password security measures in place, you can rest assured you are doing all you can to ward off cybercriminals and protect your money:
- Use a long “passphrase” instead of a password – To defend yourself against cybercrime, using long, complex passphrases instead of a single word is a must. Use your favorite movie title, a news headline, lyrics to a song, or any phrase that you are familiar with while adding punctuation and capitalization.
- Don’t create easily guessable passwords – Personal information in your passwords— such as your spouse’s name or pet’s name—is often easy to find on social media, which makes it easier for cybercriminals to hack your accounts.
- Avoid common words – Rather than writing out common words, consider substituting letters with numbers, punctuation marks, or symbols. For example, use the “$” instead of the letter “S,” or the number “8” in place of the letter “B.” You can also use phonetic sound replacements (think “PH” instead of “F”) or misspell words on purpose.
- Use unique passwords for different accounts – Rather than using the same password for all your accounts, create unique passwords for each. In the event of a breach, cybercriminals will not be able to access all your information with just one password.
- Enable multi-factor authentication (MFA) – If multi-factor authentication is an option on any of your accounts, make sure to utilize it. This ensures only you have access to your information, as you will be required to complete a second login step via your smartphone or authenticator app before accessing your account.
- Don’t share your passwords with anyone – From friends and family to co-workers, don’t share your passwords with anyone. The more you share a password, the less powerful it becomes. Again, be sure to watch out for phishing phone calls, emails, or text messages in which cybercriminals attempt to dupe you into providing your confidential information.
Remembering Your Passwords: Using A Password Manager
If you are worried about managing and protecting all your unique passwords, consider using a password manager to help you oversee all your login credentials. This solution can generate strong passwords, as well as organize and secure them all in one application. Some of the most popular password managers are LastPass, Dashlane, and 1Password.
For peace of mind, choose a password manager that keeps your data encrypted and decrypted at the device level, meaning even their servers don’t have access to your information in the cloud. Additionally, you should look for a password manager that features multi-factor authentication options for extra assurance.
Keep Your Online Bank Account Secure with a Strong Password
Safeguarding your online bank account has never been more important—and learning how to make a strong password is the first step to protecting your money. Thankfully, with these password tips implemented, you will keep your Landmark National Bank account as secure as possible.