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BEST PRACTICES FOR PASSWORDS

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Passwords are a must-have for almost anything you do online, which is why many people can experience “password overload” from time to time.

Understandable when you consider that the average person in 2023 has more than 100 passwords for all of their online tools—a 25% increase from just a few years earlier, when the same survey put the number at between 70 and 80.¹

“…a prudent man gives thought to his steps.” Proverbs 14:15

Fortunately, by following a few simple guidelines, you can help make your digital life slightly more secure.

Never share your password. Just like your Personal Identification Number for your ATM card, it is best to not share your username and password. You and your spouse or children may have access to the same accounts, but most online tools allow you to set up separate credentials. Remember, if someone asks you for your password, it may be a scam.²

Do not recycle. Resist the temptation to reuse passwords on multiple accounts. “Credential stuffing” occurs when your login details and password get compromised, and hackers try that same combination many more times across the internet.²

Longer is better than more complex. Nearly 30% of passwords are eight characters, and in many of those instances only six characters are used. Using between 12 and 16 characters can help you be more secure.² 

Longer but easy to remember and difficult to guess. Sentences or phrases can be effective. “milkandcookiesweets,” for example. However, avoid well-known phrases such as “FourScoreAndSevenYearsAgo.”²

Add some complexity. “Milk&C**kiesSw33ts.”²

Only 31% of internet users create new passwords once or twice a year. The longer a password is in use, the more likely it may be leaked during a data breach.³

Some say the best approach is to consider using a password manager, but others point out that password software can be slightly challenging to use at times. So you might want to consider adopting a combination of tips and tools as you look to boost your online security.

Another choice that can help with password management is Everplans, a versatile, online software tool that we use with our clients primarily for estate management. Everplans is designed to organize the details of your life, so you can stop putting passwords on sticky notes, dusty binders, or outdated files. If you would like to learn more, we are happy to send you an invite to Everplans.

Do You Use One of the Most Common Passwords?

If one of your passwords is on this list, you might want to consider changing it as soon as possible. Although passwords such as 4&use24HyyJ seem clever, they appear to be overused. In four months, hackers determined that 4&use24HyyJ was a shorthand version of “use all 4 numbers to make 24.”

1. NordPass.com, 2023

2. IT.UCSB.edu, 2023

3. DataProt.net, January 20, 2023

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