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Online Security 101: Understanding Passwords

Passwords – they’re more than just a combination of numbers and letters. It’s the first line of defence to protect yourself from any form of cybercrimes. If you don’t put enough thought into a good password, it can easily become the weakest link in protecting your identity online.

Below are some instances where passwords can go wrong:

  • Simple password tricks such as substituting characters for numbers, or using exclamation mark at the end of a password are already predictable and easy to guess.
  • It’s tempting to re-use a good password when we have lots of accounts but don’t take the risk.
  • Storing passwords insecurely – sticky notes and text files for example – big no no!
  • A lot of online services are secured by a password alone and once compromised, the attackers already have complete access to that service.

So what can we do to make sure our online accounts and activities are secure? We have listed down some helpful points you can easily apply:

Use a password manager.

This will make the password management a little bearable BUT it is important to remember that your master password should be complex. This is because the password manager itself can also be a target of attack.

Don’t re-use passwords.

A lot of us are guilty of doing this because it’s convenient. But the truth is, if you re-use your password, a hacker can potentially have access to ALL your personal information.

Use Complex passwords.

Forget about substituting letters with numbers and characters, hackers already know about that. A much better approach is to think of four or five random words to make a simple passphrase. Make sure, though, that the words are completely random rather than related/containing personal information.

Make use of multi-factor authentication.

This means there are two checks in place to prove your identity. Example of this is a code sent to your mobile phone or a biometric credential such as your fingerprint.

Research.

It doesn’t hurt to be knowledgeable about internet security. Below are other helpful links to help you with passphrases, two-factor authentication, and password managers:

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