This may seem way too obvious to most people, but it’s an easy mistake to make. We live on our devices and most everything has a password. So if you use the same simple password for all of your digital logins and a cybercriminal gains access to one of your accounts, they then have access to all of your accounts. It’s a cybersecurity best practice to use complex passwords and to use different passwords for all of your accounts.
But that’s a lot to keep up with, right? Yes, it can be. But there are ways to simplify it.
Start by using complex passwords
- Make your passwords long – at least 8 characters
- Include capital letters
- Include numbers
- Include symbols when possible
- Make it deceptively meaningful to you (so it’s easier to remember)
Do not use easy to guess information
- Don’t use your name
- Don’t use your initials
- Don’t use your birthdate or anniversary (or those of your children)
So, if you absolutely love Disney World and you want to incorporate that into your passwords (easy to remember), don’t use Mickey Mouse and your birthdate as your password.
Choose your favorite, somewhat obscure ride (something only you would know) like Goofy’s Barnstormer, and then complicate it by adding a time you like to ride it, say 1 pm: Barnstormer at 1:00 becomes [email protected]!00
And that may seem like a lot to remember, but your mind and hands will use muscle memory to have it memorized in no time. But complicating your passwords isn’t enough. You can’t use the same one every time. But how do you remember a bunch of complex passwords?
Use app-specific modifiers
You should definitely come up with your own system here, but one idea is to keep your basic complicated password, but complicate it further by adding an app-specific indicator to the beginning of your password.
So if your complicated password is [email protected]!00 you can use that for multiple applications by adding modifiers for each app. If you’re logging into Facebook, for instance, you could add FB_ before or _FB after your password to make it more complicated.
These modifiers allow you to remember your complicated password while also changing it for each application, so you’re not using the same password for every application.
Whether you use these methods or other complications of your own, it’s extremely important to keep your passwords secure and private. Everything we do is online and there’s too much at risk if your passwords are compromised.
The hassle of multiple passwords is nothing compared to the hassle of trying to get your identity back, or your money, or your email, or your social network accounts, or, or, or. The list goes on. Complicated passwords can be a lifesaver for individuals, employees, and businesses. Cybersecurity is everyone’s job.
Acorn+Arrow has years of experience advising organizations on marketing and leadership. We know a little about cybersecurity too. Contact us to see how we can serve you.