3 Ways You Can Put More MEANING Into Your Passwords

How important is your password to you? When you think about how your passwords could be actually keeping your family, your business, and your identity safe, it shifts your perspective about what your password actually means to you.

Did you know the average person uses about 20 different passwords for everything online? We have over 100 digital accounts, so we are reusing some of our passwords! Unfortunately, this makes us incredibly vulnerable to hacking because once Cybermonsters find one weak spot, he/she/they can break into every account associated with that password.

Okay, we reuse our passwords. What else? We don’t change them very often. We don’t remember them, so we write them down on paper or post-it. Do you ever wonder why we do this? 

Because we think it’s safer than having no password at all. But it turns out that’s just not true.  

Industry researchers estimate that over 80% of data breaches happen because of stolen passwords or weak passwords. Unfortunately, thousands of old passwords still use the word “password,” and “123456” is the top most used password. And while you might think that changing your password each month would make it harder for hackers to crack, research suggests otherwise. 

The great news is that you are reading this article and looking for ways to keep your information, your family, and your business safe, so kudos to you for that! 

Before we explore the 3-ways to put more meaning into your password, let’s find out how hackers and Cybermonsters do their dirty work. Yes, I used the word “job” because cybercrime is the biggest illegal business. Cyber crooks work each day trying different ways to commit identity theft and cyber-attacks to access your personal information, company, and business data.

How do cybercriminals gain access to your user and passwords?

Hackers use many different methods to gain access to your online accounts. Some of those methods include phishing emails, social engineering, malware, keyloggers, and dictionary attacks.

What is a keylogger? 

It is software installed on a computer without the owner’s knowledge that monitors everything you type and your mouse movements. This allows Cybermonsters to steal passwords, credit card numbers, bank account info, and even logins to online banking sites. Once they’ve gained access to your account, they’ll start looking around for things like credit card numbers, financial data, personal photos, etc. 

What is a dictionary attack?

A dictionary attack is a type of brute force attack. It works by scanning every word within a given dictionary to see if it matches a specific username or password. Cybercriminals try millions of possible combinations against a victim’s information. Unfortunately, this process also makes it easy for hackers to find weak passwords.

For example, a hacker might start with the username “admin” and the password “123456.” If those don’t work, he’ll move on to “administrator,” “root,” “superuser,” etc., until he finds one that does work.

The good news is that there are ways to avoid being hacked. For example, one way to prevent dictionary attacks is to make sure your username isn’t one that could easily be guessed. For example, choose a username that doesn’t contain your name, address, phone number, or anything else that could be easily figured out. Also, avoid using personal information that could help identify you, such as your birth date, pet names, favorite sports team, hobbies, etc.

The best way to prevent yourself from being hacked is to keep your login credentials safe.  

Three things you can do NOW to keep your passwords safe:

Because your password is essential to your financial well-being and peace of mind online, I want to share three meaningful ways to keep your password safe.

Think about the MEANING of your passwords

How much power are you giving a string of characters to PROTECT your accounts? Your passwords protect your social media accounts, bank accounts, and confidential data, like medical or financial records.

Your passwords could and will be the one thing stopping a Cybermonster from stealing all your money. They are securing the things you care about.

Some passwords don’t have the same importance as others. Still, suppose a hacker or scammer gets ahold of one of your less important accounts. In that case, they could eventually make their way to one that is essential. It’s not just about one password.

The goal is to create a unique password that no one else will know or be able to guess. A strong password isn’t just about having one that contains numbers and symbols. A good password is something that no one knows except you. If someone gets hold of it, they’ll have access to everything you do online.  

 put more meaning into your passwords

Luckily, you have step two to prevent this from happening to you!

Use a Phrase with MEANING to Create Your Password

Suppose some of your passwords include using your name, nicknames, birthdays or anniversaries, pets’ names, streets, or anything associated with you on social media. I recommend using something that sounds random and hard to remember. 

Do you love using phrases or affirmations that motivate and help you start your day with a positive mindset? I do!

Use a phrase with an empowering meaning, like “I am positive and happy” or “Great things come to me.” Choose a string of words you will easily remember daily and help you create a meaningful link. You might want to consider making up your own words or using a sentence that describes what you’re trying to protect — like “My children’s photos are pricelesslicious!”

This phrase may be used with symbols, numbers, and special characters to make a strong password that can withstand cyberattacks admirably.

You can check out chapter two of my book series, Happily Ever Cyber – How to Protect Yourself Against Hackers, Scammers, and Cybermonsters, for further instructions. It talks all about passwords and takes you step by step through how to create yours.

Put MEANING into Changing your Passwords 

The cyber world is constantly changing. There are new breaches and data leaks every single day! We can’t do anything about them, but we can protect ourselves and our devices from them. Changing your passwords can do just that and put an extra level of security on your accounts, enabling Two-Factor Authentication or a second-verification method known as 2FA.

Another thing to think about is where you STORE your password. Again, using your memory can work, but after a while, it can get frustrating to try and come up with what password you set for your email. The I Forgot My Password button could become a well-known friend.

One way you may store a password is with a sticky note, like the second little pig from the fairy tale did. The issue is that sometimes you won’t remember what account it’s for, or it could easily fall into the wrong hands.

Luckily, you can use specific tools to store your passwords securely in ONE place without worrying about someone accessing them.

3 ways you can put more meaning into your passwords - Sandra Estok - Cyber safety, cybersecurity, way2protect

Password Managers are a great tool to consider; they can completely change your online experience – and make it safer. 

A password manager is a software that helps you keep track of all your online accounts. You store one master password in the program, and that meaningful and amazing phrase works because you won’t ever forget it. 

Then the password manager generates a secure password for each of your accounts. When you want to access your bank account, retail, email, or any other type of digital account, you simply copy/paste the password generated previously by the password manager. Then you’re ready to go. 

There are many password managers out there, including ones that run on desktop computers, mobile apps, and even smartwatches. They range in price from free to hundreds of dollars. Some are better than others, and some are designed specifically for certain types of accounts. I recommend avoiding a free password manager. After all, it has all the most precious information to access your digital world.

What do you do to keep your passwords safe? I look forward to reading your comments below!

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Live Happily Ever Cyber!

Sandra Estok, CEO and Founder of Way2Protect | Happily Ever Cyber!

Sandra Estok

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