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It pays to protect your password online

When you think about your password, consider your toothbrush - you don’t let other people use it, and you replace it every three months.  Not bad advice when you consider the seriousness of hacking these days on the internet.

Being the end of the financial year, now is a good time to consider changing your password, and we have pulled together some tips for you:

  1. Use a password manager, this is an easy solution, some suggestions are LastPast, KeePass or Dashlane – these programmes encrypt and lock your passwords in a secure place.  A password manager also has the ability to log in to sites for you, and remind you if  you have the same password in too many places.  The price ranges from free to $30 plus.
  2. Create a secure record of all online accounts you have, include website addresses, login IDs and passwords for each site.  Do this for everyone in the business.  Online areas to consider: This would include: Bank accounts, Investment accounts, Credit card accounts, Tax related accounts such as a payroll tax function, or electronic filing info, Utilities – phone, electric, Social media sites, Membership accounts, Email accounts, Subscription accounts that renew automatically, On line shopping sites that hold your credit card information, and Travel sites that hold personal information for booking convenience.
  3. Keep a hard copy – now don’t pop the passwords on a sticky label beside your computer, but consider that a piece of paper is unhackable and having passwords written down and stored in a safe place that you can remember, not near your workspace, can be effective.

Tips for creating a secure password

You would of seen the funny memes that go around about the difficulty in coming up with a password that is secure, while some of these may be extreme, we do suggest consideration be given to creating stronger passwords.  Here are some tips:

  • Take a sentence and abbreviate it - I was married in Fiji in 07. Can be abbreviated to IwmiFi07
  • Use a phrase or quote that is meaningful - Make slight changes to it for security purposes. For instance, changing an “e” to a “3”, an “S” to a “$”, or an “I” to either a “1”, or capitalising a letter or two will greatly improve the strength of your password as well.
  • Don’t use familiar names, dates, or any other personal data - pet names, family names and other personal info are the first thing hackers will try.
  • Don’t use real words or a string of numbers - Hackers have access to programs that will run through every word in the dictionary and number combinations.
  • The longer the password, the more difficult it is to break - use at least 8 characters and a combination of letters, numbers, symbols and upper and lowercase letters.
  • Don’t use the same password over and over - If a hacker can access one of your accounts and you have the same password for all of them, it just makes it easier to access your information.
  • Don’t share your passwords with others
  • Test your password - check how strong your password is, here is an online tester you could use - there are others if you Google search.  http://password-checker.online-domain-tools.co

Three steps to a great password - example

Think of a phrase or quote that is meaningful to you. Ensure it is a minimum of eight words. We’ll use the below Dr Seuss quote as an example.

Don’t cry because it’s over. Smile because it happened
  • 1. Now, take the first letter of each word:

dcbiosbihdr

  • 2. Change some letters to numbers, capitalise other letters, and include symbols.

dC@7oSbIo!DR

  • 3. Check it in a password checker tool.


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