Strong Passwords Are Your First Line of Protection in a Cyber Attack

It seems like every few weeks we hear of another data breach occurrence. In fact, in the first half of 2019 data breaches resulting in exposed records is up by 54% over 2018, according to USA Today. More than 3,800 data breaches were reported in the first six months of this year, and just eight of those exposed more than 3.2 billion records, nearly 80% of all records exposed so far in 2019.

As a bank we are continually working to make sure we have the technology in place to keep your data safe. After an unprecedented number of data breaches the past few years, one thing remains clear: People need stronger passwords. The top two most popular passwords – “123456” and “password.” 

How to Create Strong Passwords and Protect Your Accounts

The most important takeaway with data breaches is that it’s important that you take every step possible to protect yourself. And your first step should be to create strong passwords. Below are the basic steps to follow when creating new passwords.

1. Make your passwords complex. 

a. Don’t use easy to guess passwords such as ‘password’, ‘123456’, any portion of your name or your friends’ and family members’ names.
b. Do not use words in the dictionary or your username or a combination of adjacent keys on the keyboard such as qwert1.
c. Use a mix of characters, including upper- and lower-case letters, numbers and symbols.

2. Easy to remember passwords are not passwords at all but passphrases. Experts suggest creating passphrases of at least 12 characters. Complexity is nice but length is vital. For example, use a phrase from a favorite song, book or TV show and mix in upper/lower case with numbers and symbols. (i.e. Wr1teASymph0ny!)

3. Be random. Avoid using easily obtained information like your birthday, Social Security number or phone number. As a general rule, the easier a password is to remember, the easier it is to crack.

4. Don’t use the same password for multiple sites. If a hacker gets one password, he or she will be able to access multiple accounts.