In today’s world, passwords are some of the most valuable pieces of information anyone can have. Personal photos, location, banking information and other personal information are mostly protected by these keys. If these bits of information get lost or stolen, they represent a massive risk to not just your online life but your personal life as well. This makes it vital for you to maximize the chances for anyone with malicious intent to take or discover your passwords. Luckily, there are some tips you can have in order to maximize your safety on the internet.

1. Use different passwords for different websites.

This may seem obvious to some people, however there are a significant number of people that still aren’t doing this. According to Google, a study they conducted in February of 2019 showed that, out of the 3000 people they surveyed, 52% admitted to using the same password for some of their accounts and 13% admitted to using the same password on all of their accounts. If you want to decrease your chances on getting all of your accounts hacked, it is recommended creating a different password for all of your accounts

  • Salt your passwords - This is something that a majority of secure websites already do. Salting a password is when you add to or modify a password so when it is plugged into a hashing algorithm before it gets put into the server, it makes it appear different to the original password. We can do this on our own to an extent. If you are unable to have completely different passwords to your different websites, you can add to your password something to it that is unique from any other password you create. This can be as simple as the initials of the app or website, or some attribute about yourself that only you know, with varying degrees of security.

2. Steer clear of websites that are not secure.

Whenever possible, it is recommended that you don’t input any information on sites that are not secure unless you are extremely careful. If it is necessary to use some website or app that is not considered secure, make sure to use a different username and password when you make your account.

3. Clear a computer of any passwords before you stop using it or get rid of it.

Make sure that, whenever you use a public computer or a computer you are giving to another person, be sure to sign out of any app or website and make sure that your passwords are no longer saved on the device. Most browsers have an easy way to do this.

For example, on Google Chrome, by clicking on the three circles in the top right corner and then clicking on settings you can see a settings tab appear. When you click on it, you should see an option called “passwords”. Clicking on that will then show you all of the passwords that Chrome has saved on this device. This will then allow you to search for specific passwords and sites where you saved your passwords where you can then delete them. It is also recommended to clear all cookies, as it is under privacy and security under settings.

4. Get creative with your passwords. (Do not use “password” as your password)

There is a list of common passwords that are often tried first when breaking into a person's account. Learning to avoid those types of passwords increases your chances of a hacker no longer considering stealing your information valuable. Attaching numbers or special characters (!,$,_,@ etc.) can make a major difference in improving the strength of your passwords. A majority of secure sites already force you to create a password with these things in mind.

5. Pay attention to any major breaches of servers.

Even if you don’t knowingly use a service, be sure to change all of your passwords if possible, in order to ensure that yours doesn’t get taken. Make sure that your new passwords have little to no connection to your past passwords that might’ve been breached.

With all these tips being fully utilized, you are still not guaranteed a hacker free life. With enough time and money most information can be breached and taken. These tips don’t come without reason though. In the end, most people that are trying to access your passwords will want to profit from it in some way, whether that is monetarily or socially. What these tips do is to maximize the number of resources a group of bad actors would need to gain control over your information, in turn decreasing the net benefit they receive in gaining access to your information making it more worth the time to attract other “customers”.

For more information on our collective bad habits goto the website below for some interesting statistics.

https://services.google.com/fh/files/blogs/google_security_infographic.pdf