We’re passionate about educating people on better password management and helping our users protect themselves against online security threats. Passwords are the keys to your digital life. In the same way that you have a key to lock your door when you leave your house, your passwords “lock” your online accounts. Ensuring that your passwords are protected and tough to crack is always the first line of defense.
That’s why World Password Day (which also happens to be Cinco de Mayo!) is the perfect opportunity to step back and evaluate your password practices. If you’re using weak passwords, and re-using them for all of your online accounts, it’s time to step up your password game.
The good news is password security can pretty easily be enhanced by implementing basic measures that not only will make you more secure but will also streamline processes and improve productivity. Below are 4 tips for improving your passwords:
- Use unique, generated passwords for all accounts. Creating an account and a new password is a tedious task, and it’s common to just go back to the same, easy-to-remember string of letters and numbers each time. However, constructing unique passwords that include a sequence of upper and lowercase letters, numbers and special characters is necessary to keeping accounts protected. Easily create these combinations with a password generator, like the one found in LastPass, to create strong passwords quickly.
- Don’t re-use your passwords. Are you re-using any of your passwords on more than one account? If you are, even if you have an “unimportant” password and an “important” password tier, it’s very unsafe. Since a password can be used anywhere in the world, there’s never a reason to give two different companies the same password. It makes it way too easy for a hacker to attack one site and get your password to all the others. In fact, major service providers have reported hackers breaking into user accounts with usernames and passwords leaked in other breaches. By using a different password for all accounts, you’ll successfully stop these attempts from being successful. Don’t be the person who is spamming all their friends begging for money on Facebook because you’re too busy to use different passwords.
- Protect your password list. With dozens of passwords and accounts, it makes sense to keep them in one place. If this database isn’t secure – like saved on a desktop folder or shared file with no protection – risk increases drastically. Ensuring that password lists are stored securely (and password protected!) is critical to safeguarding accounts. Password manager solutions encrypt and back-up account passwords and usernames, and will also improve productivity when sharing among team members.
- Don’t forget about the security questions. Many online accounts will ask you to set up security questions to add an extra layer of safety to your account. However, they are typically terrible for security and for many people, are the weak link in their overall online security system. If you’re already using a password manager to store all your passwords, try using the generated passwords feature for the security questions and save the answers in the “Notes” section in your account.Your note field ends up looking like this: High School Mascot: ackpioughtso. Make sure you also use the pronounceable feature, something we have at LastPass, when generating these. Otherwise, you might end up on the phone with customer service and explaining why your high school mascot had dollar signs and ampersands in its name is more trouble than it’s worth!
Once you’ve followed these steps to properly dealing with your passwords, you’ll really deserve that margarita today ;)