May 5 is Password Day, which means that it's not only a good day to remember to change your passwords, but also a good time to learn more about how to make passwords better and more secure.
Passwords protect a lot of our important online information, including details as delicate as our addresses and phone numbers, our social security numbers, our banking account numbers and credit card information. Having a good password can go a long way in protecting that information from criminals who want to access it.
Even in this day and age, though, many people still prefer passwords that are easy to crack, such as "12345" and "password." Creating passwords like those basically hand your information over to others with ill intent. So on World Password Day, here are a few tips on how to make better passwords that are still easy to use, but also harder to crack.
Make Long Passwords
Don't make your password one word. You could string an easily remembered phrase together to create a password that's harder to crack. For example, if you feel like quoting Shakespeare often, "tothineownselfbetrue" is a better password than your child's name. It doesn't take a lot of thought to put a password like that together, and if you add an easily remembered number after it, it becomes even tougher to crack: "tothineownselfbetrue103."
Use Unique Passwords For Every Account
We all know we should create a different password for every single account we have, but most people don't do it, mostly because it's hard to remember which password goes with which account. Today's Web browsers, though, can save passwords for each account, and if you do forget, almost every website allows you to retrieve and/or change that password.
Don't Share Your Passwords
Whatever you do, don't let other people know what your passwords are. Don't brag that all your banking information and other important accounts are protected by a password that is your child's name and birthday. And if someone needs access to your account for anything, don't tell them the password. If you must give them access to an account, type your information in yourself.
Use Two-Factor Authentication
Even long passwords with nonsensical characters aren't 100 percent hacker-proof. This is where two-factor authentication comes in handy. This means that to access your accounts, you not only enter a password, but also verify that you're accessing your account by either confirming through an auto-sent email or text message. This gives your accounts an extra layer of protection.
Change Your Passwords
Here's another thing that we all know we should do, but don't. It's important to change passwords often, because even big sites such as Target get prone to hacking. It's definitely a hassle to remember passwords every time you change them, but there are options for storing new passwords in your browser or with password manager apps.
Get A Password Manager
So you've changed your passwords and have different ones for different accounts: you can get a password manager app or program to remember those passwords for you. Something like Dashlane or Last Pass can not only store all those passwords, but also allow your browser to auto-fill those passwords in for you when you visit the website of your accounts.