Cyber Security: Picking a Secure Password

Cyber Security Button on Keyboard

One of the most important things you can do to protect your accounts is ensure that you’ve picked a secure password. Too often people choose a password such as “12345”, “QWERTY” or their last name, which puts them at risk of hacking. A strong password will reduce the risk of your online accounts being compromised.

Pick a Sentence

A strong password doesn’t have to be difficult to remember! Create a password using a sentence you are likely to remember, such as the date of an important life event, the name of a childhood neighbour, or the name of your favourite book. The key is to choose a sentence that is significant to you, but  something that people are unlikely to guess. For added security, use numbers or symbols in place of letters, as well as some capital letters.

Here’s an example: imagine your favourite book is Jane Eyre. The following would be a secure password: Fav0ur!t3B00k!$Jan33yr3. You will notice that zeroes were used in place of “o”, threes in place of “e” and exclamation points in place of “i”. Additionally, each word is capitalized.

Avoid using things like your spouse’s name, your birthday or your address as your password, as this information is easily discoverable by hackers.

Keep your Password Safe

Now that you’ve picked a strong password, you will want to keep it safe. Avoid writing it down on paper next to your computer or keeping it in your wallet. This makes you vulnerable to hackers if your wallet is stolen or the paper your password is on is misplaced. Instead, consider a password manager. Password managers encrypt your data, helping to keep it secure. They also allow you to store the login information for all of your online accounts, which is important, as you should not be using the same password for all of your accounts.

Change your Password Regularly

For added security, change your password every three months. To remember to do this, try setting a recurring calendar reminder. When you do change your passwords, be sure to update your password manager if you choose to use one to keep track of your online account credentials.