Unfortunately, most people adopt a laissez faire approach to password security, using easily identifiable alphanumeric codes across all websites. The problem with this one size fits all strategy is that once a hacker gains access to one password, it typically works everywhere. According to Internet security experts, 58% of baby boomers use insecure passwords and millennials are at even greater risk. Of course, secure passwords are not the only way to guard against hacks. Passwords can be thought of as the combination to a bank vault, or a key to a door – they are that important.
Tip 1 – Seek out Sites That Utilise Biometrics for Added Security
Many iOS and Android devices are now equipped with the option of biometric login information such as fingerprints, facial recognition, retinal scans etcetera. The benefit of using biometrics as opposed to standard passwords is clear: it is not necessary to remember any passwords. One of the leading UK banking giants, HSBC Holdings plc is heavily invested in biometrics technology. It has launched touch security services and voice recognition for some 15 million customers in the United Kingdom. Since the body can only be in one place at one time, logins are impossible from any location other than where the user currently is.
Tip 2 – Choose a Strong Password
One of the most commonly used passwords among people is 123456, despite its astonishingly idiotic nature. Many people continue to use passwords that are easy to remember, regardless of their low security ranking. Cyber security experts recommend using passwords that are at least 12+ characters long, including uppercase and lowercase letters, digits and special characters. These complex alphanumeric strings form the best password protection.
Tip 3 – Multifactor Password Authentication Measures
Nowadays, many websites require 2-phase password authentication. Gmail requires the standard password and the SMS or telephone notification password to be input into the login fields. Much the same is true of online banking sites, e-commerce sites and the like. This method of protecting the integrity of accounts is a little cumbersome and tedious, but it is the safest way to prevent hackers from accessing your personal information.
Tip 4 – Always Use a Password Manager to Protect Sensitive Login Information
Password managers safely store all username/password combinations to a myriad of sites from a single, secure location on your PC, smartphone or tablet. These dramatically enhance the security of your online browsing and banking activity. Password managers are protected with passwords, and they can synchronize protection across multiple devices and platforms. For example, an online login attempt from a smartphone is entirely possible even if the password manager is installed on the PC. The best password manager programs offer maximum encryption and multi-platform compatibility.
Tip 5 – Mix It up with Usernames and Password Combinations
Hackers realise that most people use the same password across multiple sites. To counter this threat, it’s important to use different passwords on different sites. This decreases your vulnerability. The reason most people use the same password is because they don’t use a password manager to remember all their passwords. Hackers actively seek out the easiest entry points to a PC, and then exploit those weaknesses to access online banking sites.
Tip 6 – Avoid Password Sharing
Far too many people are too liberal in the way they share their passwords. Norton Antivirus security consultants recently conducted a survey, and it was found that 31% of millennials share their passwords, or would share their passwords. A staggering 33% of those people in the US shared online banking information.
Tip 7 – Avoid Phishing Scams and Stay Abreast of the Latest Security Updates
Any email attachments from unknown people or companies seeking login information for online banking should be avoided. It is best to delete these emails without opening the attachments. These may well be Phishing and Pharming scams. No matter how authentic a website looks, the URL is all that matters. Banks and financial institutions should be called before replying to an email request for password authentication. To wrap everything up, it’s important to maintain the latest updates to antivirus software to diminish the risk of falling victim to fraudsters.