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Safe Banking

Best practices for strong passwords

February 2, 2024
min read

Did you know that February 1 was Change Your Password Day? With that in mind, here’s how to make your passwords more secure!

Person changes password on phone

Think of all the accounts that you lock behind passwords, from your bank account to your email.

Passwords are like a key to your personal information. Even if you’re familiar with the basics of creating passwords, it’s always good to give yourself a refresh.

That’s why we’ve put together these tips to help you keep your accounts secure! Ayodeji Ojo, Information Systems Security Officer at Cambrian, shared these passwords dos and don’ts:

Password dos

Use letters, numbers, and symbols

“Include a random combination of letters (uppercase and lowercase), numbers, spaces, and special characters in every password you create,” says Ayodeji.

Here’s an example of what a secure password looks like:

  • kjQ9ebJd40@#5xTB

Create long passwords

The longer your password is, the harder it will be for a hacker to crack the code! “Make sure your password is at least 16 characters long,” suggests Ayodeji.

Change it regularly

“Try to change your passwords at least once a year,” says Ayodeji. “That way, you can reduce the chances that a hacker could gain access to your accounts and take your personal information.”

“If you update your passwords frequently due to unauthorized people gaining access, that’s a sign those passwords are not strong enough. Change your passwords immediately if you suspect someone may have stolen them.”

Try a password manager

Special characters, 16+ letters, and randomly generated phrases – how can you remember your passwords when each one is complex and unique?

For that, you can use a password manager. It’s a tool you can use to store all your account passwords, so that you don’t have to remember each one!

Set up two-factor authentication

One way to strengthen your passwords even more? “Add another layer of security with two-factor authentication (2FA),” says Ayodeji.

With 2FA, in addition to your password, you’ll also be required to provide a verification code sent to your phone or email.

“2FA adds more security because it combines what you know (your password) with what you have (your email or cellphone). Even if someone steals your password, they can’t get access until they’ve received the verification code.”

Password don'ts

Don’t include personal information

Many people put personal details in their passwords so they’re easier to remember, but this also makes them easier to guess.

“Don’t include any information that’s publicly known about you,” says Ayodeji. “For example, don’t use your birthday, a pet’s name, or your address.”

“Instead, use a passphrase or sentence that is known only to you. You’ll have an easier time remembering it, and you won’t have to write it down somewhere.”

Don’t use known sequences of numbers or letters

Avoid familiar or obvious phrases when you’re creating passwords. For example:

  • 12345
  • Qwerty
  • Abcdefg

Instead, use random strings of numbers and letters so that your passwords are harder to guess.

Don’t re-use passwords

“Password re-use is quite common,” says Ayodeji. “It’s when you use the same credentials for multiple accounts.”

“By reusing passwords, all your profiles are exposed to a single point of compromise. If a hacker gains access to one account, they get access to all your accounts.”

“The more you reuse passwords, the more you’re exposed to this risk.”

Be sure to create a unique password for all your accounts.

Don’t share your passwords

Password sharing is when two or more people use the same password for a shared account,” says Ayodeji. “It means another person can log in and take actions that implicate you.”

Whenever possible, create a separate account instead of sharing your password.

Keeping our members safe

At Cambrian, our members can easily set up two-factor authentication to ensure their accounts are protected. We’re here to help you keep your money safe. To become a Cambrian member, contact us today!

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