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With the approaching new year, it might be time to start thinking about ways that you can improve your life. Some common resolutions include losing weight, exercising more and spending less.

Secure Passwords

Have you considered bettering your digital life as well? Why not take steps to make it more secure? One of the easiest ways to do this is by using strong and complex passwords and change them often.

Update Passwords Regularly.

When was the last time you updated your passwords? If the answer to this question is more than 30 days ago, it’s time for a change.

Some people use passwords for years or until a system requires they update them. This could have serious consequences to your privacy. For this reason, it’s essential that you update your passwords frequently. It’s much easier to break a password that’s remained unchanged than it is to crack a password that’s changed each month.

It’s also important that you use different passwords for each one of your accounts. Using the same password for everything is like inviting hackers to steal your information. If you do this, and someone hacks into one of your accounts by figuring out your password, they would also have the password for your email, other social media accounts, online shopping sites, and perhaps even your bank account. By changing passwords across platforms, you’re further protecting your confidential information.

Invest in a Password Bank.

I know—I can hear you now: “I’m too busy to constantly change passwords and keep track of them.”  This is no excuse – especially because there are applications you can use called password banks.  A password bank, like LastPass or DashLane can help you keep track of the passwords you use and what accounts they’re associated with. Both free and upgraded versions are available.

You simply access your password bank with a master password that you create, or with a fingerprint on your smartphone. The password bank automatically keeps track of your passwords and ensures they’re stored securely so they can’t be hacked. Even if a criminal cracks one of your passwords, they won’t be able to break them all.

According to Verizon’s 2016 Data Breach Investigations Report, weak passwords are the cause 63% of all data breaches.

Carefully Craft Your Passwords.

If your passwords are simple they’re more likely to be discovered. It’s important that you create long and complex passwords, with a mix of upper and lower-case letters, numbers, and symbols when permitted.

Avoid using names or places in your passwords, as people who come to know you may be able to guess them. Don’t use common phrases like “iloveyou” or “1234.”  A good password might be a string of numbers and letters or some other combination of information like a sentence acronym that’s specific to yourself.  For example: My favorite place to eat is La Cucina Italian Restaurant – (MfpteiLCIR)

Use Two-Factor Authentication.

Two-factor authentication also referred to as multi-factor authentication, uses verification in two forms to prevent unauthorized individuals from accessing your private information. With two-factor authentication, you use an initial password login and a secondary one. In addition to entering your username and password, you must enter a designated code that’s been sent as a text to your phone.

A token or keycard can also be used for the second authentication. A token might be a device such as a USB drive. The drive generates a one-time password, and after entering the initial password as well as the one-time password, access is granted.

And remember, securing passwords is something you should do year-round, not just for the new year.  Phoenix Technology can help. If you are interested in learning more about password security, contact us today at 1-800-677-7305, or click here to fill out a quick form so we can better assist you.

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