Advanced password tips and tricks

Time to create another password? Make it a secure one. A little extra attention when you create a strong password can prevent an attacker from getting access to your account.

Your password should be long, complex, and unique. Here are additional steps you can take to help create strong passwords and secure your accounts: 

  • Avoid common words, phrases, or information. Don’t use information available to others like your birthday, phone number, or Social Security number. Attackers often use a dictionary of previously exposed passwords and information gathered from the internet to help them guess a password.
  • Change passwords quickly if there is a breach. Attackers who steal data from companies often obtain password information. If you receive a notification from a company about a possible breach, change that password and any account that uses a similar password immediately.
  • Consider a password manager. Most people have trouble keeping track of all their passwords. Consider storing your passwords and security questions in a password manager, an easy-to-access application that allows you store all your valuable password information in one place. Use a strong password to secure the information in your password manager. 

What about security questions? If you forget your password, many companies require you to answer security questions to regain access. Here are some tips to make sure an attacker can’t use your security questions as a way to get into your account: 

  • Select security questions where only you know the answer. Many security questions ask for answers to information available in public records or online, like your zip code, mother’s maiden name, birth place. That is information a motivated attacker can obtain.
  • Don’t use answers to security questions that can be guessed. An attacker can guess the answer to a security question that has a limited number of responses (dates, colors, states, countries). Avoid questions like “What state were you born in?” or “What color was your first car?” which allow an attacker to guess all possible answers.
  • Don’t give a generic answer to a security question. Find an answer to a security question that you will remember but is also more complicated than a generic word. For example, if the security question asks “What is your favorite childhood memory?” the answer “watching the Dodgers with my mom” is more secure than “baseball.”

Like these tips? Then check out more FTC information about computer security.

Comments

THIS IS GOOD INFORMATION. I HAVE ALL PASS WORDS STORED
WITH A PASSWORD MANAGER AND A REALLY STRONG PASSWORD TO
GET INTO IT THAT ONLY I KNOW, NOT WRITTEN ANYWHERE. KEEP
THESE GOOD E/MAILS COMING. THANKS TO THE FTC FOR YOUR
GOOD WORK.

I will quit browsing over internet. Its many years gone no real benefit I got from those years. I will be a mad person if I continue more year. I already lost many years and many earning money I already lost from 2004 to 2015, and I think I will be lost more year and money lost. Thank you.

I am an adult and trying to create an account but getting a message that I can because I'm underage. How do I get past this?

Helpful suggestions....

Along the lines of "not answering security questions that can be easily guessed", you can change things up a little.

WHAT COLOR WAS YOUR FIRST CAR: Fido
WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE COLOR: Steak
WHAT HIGH SCHOOL DID YOU GRADUATE: Baseball

Things like this make it harder for the bad guys to guess ... just so long as you don't forget your answers!

I LIVE FOR GOOD INFO TO PROTECT & SERVE MY.....IDENTITY!

I'd like to use some of your posts in our newsletter to help our clients be more proactive in protecting themselves. How do I get permission for re-posting some of your great content?

The FTC encourages you to share our resources with your  friends, family, co-workers, and neighbors. There are many ways to let others know about the FTC, and about making smart choices when they shop: share tips, blog posts, use your social networking skills, or, order free publications to hand out at events or conferences — or just to give out in your community.

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