Passwords are the first line of defense for most online accounts. However, creating and remembering complex passwords for dozens of accounts is a major challenge. Follow these tips to help manage your passwords, strengthen your online security, and protect your personal and business information online.
Length is Strength
As your password grows in length, it becomes harder for hackers to crack. Each additional letter, number or symbol, increases the possible combinations exponentially. When possible, use a passphrase composed of a short sentence or series of random words, such as:
- I take my coffee break at 3:30 pm
These types of passwords are harder for computers to guess and often easier for humans to remember. Varying your capitalization, substituting symbols for letters, and incorporating numbers into your phrase are all great ways to strengthen your passphrase.
Try to avoid incorporating personal information into your passwords. Important dates like birthdays and anniversaries, home towns, high schools and names of relatives can all be discovered by hackers. A good rule for selecting passwords: If something about you can be discovered on social media, don’t include it.
Reusing passwords across different accounts is a major security risk. If hackers gain access to one account, they wil try to use the same credentials to access your other accounts. Don’t make it easier for hackers; make each password unique.
Keep it Manageable
A password manager is a great way to keep track of all your accounts and passwords. Password managers are computer applications that securely store passwords in an encrypted vault. Now you only have one password to remember -- the password to your password manager. Popular password managers include:
Setting up strong passwords across all your accounts is an important step toward limiting your exposure to risk online. When you don’t have a system in place to manage your important accounts, you leave yourself and your business exposed to outside threats.
Do's and Don'ts
- Change passwords frequently
- Use screen lock on mobile devices (view more tips on mobile security)
- Use biometrics (fingerprints, facial ID) to gain access to devices and accounts
- Create passwords to AgriPoint or our mobile apps using Social Security/tax identification numbers; familiar dates, such as birthdates and anniversaries; yours or your children’s name
- Repeat the same username or password across apps
- Save your username or password in a spreadsheet on your mobile phone, laptop, etc.
- Share your usernames or passwords with others
Farm Credit Services of America offer AgriPoint® and mobile apps with your convenience and security in mind. Customers who create and securely store strong passwords/pass phrases are adding additional layers of protection. But Kris Plambeck, our business solutions manager, advises customers to follow a few additional Dos and Don’ts.