When is the last time you reviewed passwords for your bank account, email or credit card accounts? March 15 is National Password Day, and BBB along with the Federal Trade Commission, is sharing tips to make your passwords more secure.
Scammers, hackers and identity thieves are looking to steal your personal information and your money. However, there are steps you can take to protect yourself, like keeping your computer software up-to-date and giving out your personal information only when you have a good reason.
“It’s always important to make sure you are using the most up-to-date software to protect your devices,” said Mechele Agbayani Mills, President and CEO of BBB serving Central East Texas. “It is even more important to make certain you are taking steps to ensure your password has a moderate level of complexity and therefore less attractive to a hacker.”
BBB offers the following tips to make your passwords more secure:
- Make your passwords, long, strong and complex. Your passwords should be at least twelve characters mixed with upper and lowercase letters, numbers and symbols. Avoid common words, phrases or information in your passwords.
- Don’t reuse passwords. Use different passwords for different accounts so if a hacker compromises one account, other accounts will be hard to access.
- Use multi-factor authentication, when available. For accounts that support it, two-factor authentication requires both your password and an additional piece of information to log in. The second piece could be a code sent to your phone or a random number generated by an app or token. This protects your account even if your password is compromised.
- Consider a password manager. Most people have trouble keeping track of all their passwords. Consider storing your passwords and security questions in a reputable password manager, an easy-to-access application that stores all your password information. Use a strong password to secure the information in your password manager.
- Select security questions you only know the answer to. Many security questions ask for answers to information available in public records or online, like your zip code, mother’s maiden name or birth place. That is information a motivated attacker can obtain. Don’t use questions with a limited number of responses that attackers can easily guess – like the color of your first car.
- Change passwords if there is a breach. If you receive a notification from a company about a possible breach change that password and any account that uses a similar password immediately.
BBB serving Central East Texas fosters a trustworthy marketplace by maintaining standards for truthful advertising and by investigating and exposing fraud against consumers and businesses. Please go to bbb.org or call 903-581-5704 24 hours a day for information on businesses throughout North America. To report a fraud or scam, go to BBB Scam Tracker.