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World Password Day 2024: 5 Tips to Keep Your Accounts Safe

Man using strong password to protect his work computer

Did you know there’s a day dedicated to the importance of strong passwords? It’s World Password Day, and it lands on the first Thursday in May. World Password Day was created to bring awareness to the need for strong passwords and the impact they can have on keeping your private information safe.

When was the last time you changed your password? Take World Password Day as your cue to update and strengthen the passwords of your email and social media accounts and, most importantly, any accounts storing your personal information. Encourage others to do the same too — the more awareness that can be shared about the significance of password security, the better!

To help protect your personal and private accounts, following are five helpful password tips you can practice this World Password Day and beyond.

#1 – Avoid Using Public Information in Your Passwords

It can be tempting to use memorable information in your passwords, such as your birthday, your anniversary, pet names, etc., so that you don’t forget them. But be wary; with the rise of social media and nearly everyone having some kind of digital footprint, what may seem private to you could be more public than you think if your social accounts are easily accessible. Scammers extensively use social media to dig up information on others and use what they find to guess passwords. Before you share anything personal online, make sure there aren’t ties to any of your passwords.

#2 – Consider Swapping Passwords for Passphrases

Bouncing off the previous tip, the more complex you can make your password, the safer it is. Include numbers and symbols in your passwords and avoid using everyday words that can be easily guessed. Instead, consider using passphrases. Passphrases are a string of words that are typically longer than a traditional password and can range from 10 to even 100 characters long. The intent of a passphrase is for it to be something you can easily remember but that’s difficult for scammers to track. Have a favorite song lyric or a movie quote? Those are great ideas for a passphrase, especially if you mix in a few numbers and symbols too.

#3 – Regularly Reset Your Passwords

Set expiration dates for organizational passwords so that team members have to reset them after a certain period of time. Depending on the sensitivity of your workplace’s data, this timeframe could differ, but most organizations have employees reset their passwords every 60 or 90 days. It’s also a great practice to use for your personal accounts, as continually changing your password is essential for keeping accounts safe.

#4 – Use Different Passwords for Each Account

Don’t duplicate your password across multiple accounts. This tactic makes it easier for a scammer to access more information by only hacking one account. Adopt different passwords for each account and avoid writing down passwords if possible, especially in an office setting. Instead, use a password management tool. Password management tools store passwords in a safe and encrypted manner so that you can access them with ease without fear of them being hacked. There are apps and web tools available for password management, depending on your preference.

#5 – Activate Two-Factor Authentication When Possible

Use two-factor authentication (2FA) wherever possible. 2FA adds an extra layer of security to accounts by requiring a numerical code sent by text, phone call or email in addition to entering the correct password. Many organizations require 2FA when accessing their company’s resources remotely via VPN in order to ensure data doesn’t fall into the wrong hands. There are also 2FA options for personal accounts, like Google and Amazon, that you should activate if you haven’t already.

Setting diverse and complex passwords may seem like a pain, but at the end of the day, codes like “Password123!” aren’t keeping your information safe. Hackers are using more sophisticated ways to access people’s passwords, and the best defense is habitually changing out yours for strong ones that are uniquely personal to you.

At Creative Planning Business Services, we help organizations develop and maintain strong security strategies that include password protocols to help secure confidential data. If you’d like to learn more about our cybersecurity services, contact our team today — we’d be happy to discuss them further with you.

This commentary is provided for general information purposes only, should not be construed as investment, tax or legal advice, and does not constitute an attorney/client relationship. Past performance of any market results is no assurance of future performance. The information contained herein has been obtained from sources deemed reliable but is not guaranteed.

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