Online privacy was never exposed so much as it is now. With the amount of sensitive information that you can access remotely through your smartphone, tablets, or computers, it’s now more important than ever that you take the strength of your usernames and passwords seriously. And while it can be a hard task to come up with new usernames and passwords for every app or website that you log in to, the safety of your identity and other privileged information is at stake. So to help ensure that your private data stays private, here are three tips for creating stronger usernames and passwords.
Don’t Use Personal Information
While using personal information for your usernames and passwords may help you to better remember them, this is actually not a good practice to subscribe to. According to Intuit, using things like your birth date, social security number, and other personal information for your username and password may initially seem like a secure idea. But if someone is able to hack into that information and get that username and password, not only do they now have access to your account, but they also now have some vital personal information that can help them gain access to additional accounts of yours. Knowing this, steer clear of using important personal information as part of your usernames or passwords.
Be Careful With Making Substitutions
One common practice with usernames or passwords is to create one that has personal significance to you but then make a substitution with symbols or numbers. For example, you change “password” to “p@$$w0rd”. While this is better than the alternative, Chris Hoffman, a contributor to HowToGeek.com, advises not to rely too heavily on tactics like this. Although this can be a harder password to crack than just using letters, it’s not too far of a stretch to go from the first example to the second example. Therefore, intuitive substitutions don’t really cover your bases as well as you may think they would.
Use Combinations and “Errors”
For the strongest usernames and passwords out there, it’s best if you use a combination of various letters, numbers, and symbols. This will make combinations that aren’t easy to guess or easy to stumble upon. In fact, according to PayPal.com, creating a password with an intentional misspelling or error will actually make your security tighter. For example, you could use the wrong letters, omit letters, add letters, or switch letters of a word to make it harder for hackers to use their “dictionaries” to find the access code to your particular accounts, since errors of this fashion aren’t generally accounted for.
If you know how much important is only privacy is then you need to start creating stronger usernames or passwords, use the tips mentioned above to help you do just that.