What do you think is a great way to prevent fraud? A strong password.

The first Thursday of May is known as World Password Day, and it is the perfect opportunity to review your or your organizations’ password practices.  Passwords can be cumbersome but they are an important ingredient to keeping your information safe.

Here are five easy tips to secure your accounts through better password practices:

Use a Passphrase to create a Stronger Password

One way to create and remember long passwords with ease is to use passphrases. A passphrase is a sentence with a combination of words with special characters and numbers mixed in, with a minimum length of 15 characters.  There is some debate that a passphrase is only slightly better than a long password especially under a brute force hack (a trial and error method of attack using various generated guesses or alphanumeric combinations). However from an end-user perspective, passphrases are easier to remember and could prevent people from having to write them down.
An example of a passphrase:  B@nkMustangtw3lv3!

Use a Unique Password for every Unique Account

Using separate passwords for every unique account helps to stop cyber criminals.  Separate your work and personal accounts and make sure your most important accounts have the strongest passwords.

Use a Password Manager

Internet browsers such as Firefox, Chrome, Safari and Internet Explorer all have built in password managers.  If you plan to use your passwords across devices, you should use one of these apps:

  • 1 Password (Windows, Mac, iOS, Android)
  • LastPass (iOS, Android; Chrome plugin works on Windows, Mac, Linux)
  • KeePass (Linux, Windows, Mac, Android)

Use a Strong Master Password for your Password Manager

This is when a passphrase would be especially useful.

Use Two-Factor Authentication

Increase the security of your online accounts by enabling the strongest authentication tools available, such as enabling biometrics (e.g. facial recognition or fingerprint), security keys or a unique one-time code through an app on your smartphone.  Usernames and passwords are not enough to protect your critical accounts like email, banking and social media.

Remember, passwords are like toothbrushes. Pick a good one, change it periodically and most important of all, don’t share it.