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Yorkshire Times
A Voice of the North
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Jamie Durham
IT Correspondent
1:00 AM 18th December 2021
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5 Tips For Creating Secure Online Passwords This Festive Season

In this next instalment with the Yorkshire Times, Jamie Durham takes a look at online passwords, sharing how, by following a few simple tips, we can make these details harder to crack — keeping our personal information, and hard-earned cash, safe from hackers.

For most of us, not a day goes by without us logging into our devices – whether that’s a smartphone, laptop, or tablet — and checking emails, using online banking, or catching up on the latest happenings on our social media feeds.

And at this time of year in particular, we ramp up our online spending in a bid to make the Christmas season one to remember. But for those who become complacent with their online passwords, it could become memorable for all the wrong reasons.

So, while ‘online’ has become an important part of our day-to-day lives, it’s important to remember to take security on these platforms seriously. However, by implementing a few quick and easy steps, we can all surf safely into 2022, and beyond.

Create different passwords for every platform

Using the same passwords for multiple accounts, leaves users more vulnerable to hackers who will try to gain maximum return on any information that they uncover.

This means that once a login is stolen for one account, they will try this across as many other platforms as they can think of, in the hope of unlocking as much of your private information as possible — putting your data, and bank balance, at increased risk.

Take advantage of online password management tools

Creating and recalling a multitude of different logins may feel daunting, after all, most people have tens, if not hundreds at their fingertips. Remembering these ‘by heart’ is, for many of us, highly unrealistic. But online password management tools provide a secure and sensible solution, storing all your access details in one place — leaving you with just one combination to remember.

Follow advice around the strength of your passwords

When it comes to your passwords, it’s important to ensure that these are hard to guess — which means steering clear of the temptation to include memorable words, phrases, and dates. Though it may feel like an extra pressure in our busy lives, taking the time to come up with a strong password is well worth a few minutes of investment.

The most secure combinations are longer, with a mix of lower-case and upper-case letters, and feature numbers and special symbols. One of the easiest ways to strengthen these credentials is by using entirely random sequences, like the ones generated by the password suggestion function on your electronic devices.

Use multifactor authentication

Some platforms and devices, such as document sharing, email, and social media applications, allow the use of multifactor authentication. This provides an additional layer of protection in the form of a unique, one-time code, which is sent to your chosen device each time your password is used — ensuring that if anyone attempts to log in without consent, they will remain unable to access your accounts.

Keep abreast of breaches

Unfortunately, most of us will have received an email stating that our details were exposed in a security breach. Among the sea of messages we receive each day, it can be tempting to put these off for another time – or, even worse, ignore them completely. But it’s important to take these communications seriously and change any affected passwords immediately. After all, it is always better to be cautious than to fall foul of those with bad intentions.

Using a combination of these simple tips, we can help to safeguard our online accounts from hackers – and avoid those unnecessary extra stresses as we enter a brand-new year.