February 1st is Change Your Password Day. Created to remind millions of internet users to protect themselves online it is timely reminder about the importance of strong passwords.

Large data breaches, in which millions of customer records are stolen, have become so common that today it’s a question of ‘not if but when.’ Unfortunately, it can be months, and sometimes years, before they are discovered.

As a result hackers and fraudsters are trading stolen passwords, in hacker forums and on the deep web, without victims being aware that their passwords and login information has been stolen. Changing your password and using tools like two-factor authentication protects you from this.
 
  • Some of the most commonly hacked passwords are consecutive numbers or keyboard letter sequences like ‘1234567’ or ‘qwerty’ names, a term or phrase you commonly use on social media, and variations of your name.

Hackers crack these in seconds. To protect yourself from this:
  • Create strong passwords

Strong passwords should have at least ten characters, with a mix of uppercase letters, lowercase letter, numbers, and symbols.
 
And if at all possible:
  • Use a different password for each account

If you use the same password across different accounts, and your password is compromised it can be used to log into another account. This is especially important regarding online banking and financial accounts.
 
To help you with these steps consider the following:
  • Use a password manager

Password managers are great way to create strong passwords. They create and store passwords for your different online accounts. To help our customers we have partnered with Dashlane a top-ranked password manager. To find out more click here.
 
  • Turn on multi-factor authentication

Many online services offer two-factor authentication. This adds an additional layer of security on top of your standard password. For example, an app may require you answer a security question or an email account may require that you enter a PIN number after you have inputted your password. The PIN number is sent to your mobile phone after you enable two-factor authentication.

Beyond creating and using strong passwords, you can also increase your cyber safety by using good internet security software. But if you do nothing else, change your password on your most important accounts.