Do you have super strong passwords for your digital accounts? Strong, reliable online security measures are a must for modern day entrepreneurs.
A few years ago, we had to deal with the Heartbleed bug. The latest security issue is the Cloudbleed memory leak that has affected several websites. If you haven’t already, you should change the passwords for sites that have been compromised and, it goes without saying, that you should make them super strong.
Remember, hackers have lots of tech tools to help them crack your passcodes, so your job is to make it as difficult as possible for them.
How to Create Super Strong Passwords
Use Unique Passwords for Every Account (yes, every single one)
You already know that it’s not a good idea to use the same password on all your accounts, yes? If you’re using the same password for every online account you have, you’re leaving those accounts vulnerable to anyone who selects you as a hacking target.
So, be sure that you have a unique password for every account you have. Every. Single. One.
Make it Hard to Figure Out
You should create passwords that are hard to guess. Simply put, do not use:
- The name of a pet or child
- Your street address
- Your name or the name of your spouse/partner
- Words that can be found in the dictionary
Use Eight Characters (include special ones, too)
A strong password will be at least eight characters (though 15+ characters are better) AND there will be a combination of:
- Upper- and lowercase letters
- Special characters and punctuation (like !@#$%^&*()_+=-~)
You can make it easier on yourself by creating an easy to remember phrase. Then, use the first letter of each word in the phrase to create your password and when possible, replace some letters with similar characters (e.g., use $ in place of S).
- Easy to remember phrase: “I must use a very strong password to keep hackers out!”
- 12-character passcode: iMu@v$P2kHo1
Use 20+ Characters
A super strong password will be at least 20 characters long. They’re harder to guess and yes, harder for you to remember, but you can use a passphrase to help jog your memory. Still, if you have many accounts, you’ll probably want to use a password manager (digital or paper-based) to keep track of all your access codes. Scroll down to see a few suggestions for password managers.
- Easy to remember phrase: “I must use a super strong password to keep hackers out or else I will be an easy target!”
- 20-character passcode: iMu@$sP2kHoOeiWb@Et1
Other Steps You Can Take
1. Audit your current security measures. Do you have security protocols in place? Are there any holes in it? Check out 10 Cyber Security Tips for Small Business (source: FCC) for helpful steps you can take and have a look at this tip sheet.
2. Backup your data. Website under attack? Dealing with an online security breach will suck. And, it will be even worse if you don’t have a copy of the information you need to get your website up and running. So, back everything up now.
3. Add a layer of security. Whenever possible, enable 2-factor authentication (2FA) for your accounts, including your Wordpress site (see this plugin and this one, too). Sure, it will be an extra step, but it can help keep your accounts more secure.
4. Keep track of your passwords. You’ll have to find an easy way to remember and find your passwords when you need them. Here are few you can check out:
Digital Password Managers
Spiral-bound Password Book
- Studio Oh! Internet Password Logbook, Under Lock and Key (affiliate link)
These are just a few basic things you can to stave off the bad guys. If you have a security tip of your own, feel free to share in the comments.