Proper password management will help keep you secure online.

It’s straightforward to learn good habits for password management and can save you many headaches down the road.

Here are the basic dos and don’ts of password management.

  • NEVER use personal details and information for your passwords. Common personal data includes name, initials, your name backward, birthday, kid’s name or pet names, car make and model, etc.
  • ALWAYS use a series of random letters and numbers. Try to include punctuation in it. It may be nearly impossible to remember this way, but you can always save it somewhere and cut & paste when you need to log in.
  • NEVER select a word that can be found in a dictionary easily, an expression someone might already know, or a sequence of letters or numbers (for example, ‘12345’ or ‘Fido’). But it’s okay to use the first letter of each word of a songline or a phrase, something memorable but obscure. An example would be to use ‘IWTHYH’ from the Beatles’ ‘I Want to Hold Your Hand.’
  • NEVER forget to periodically change your passwords. If you change them regularly, there’s less chance that a hacker will be able to use a password if they do find it. Change your password anytime you haven’t logged in to a site for a while. If it’s a site where you log in often, get into a routine of changing your password every few months.
  • NEVER use the same exact password for multiple sites. For example, the same password for your email, Facebook account, and bank account. If hackers obtain your Facebook password, they’ll have access to your bank account. This is a very common mistake and hackers know that people make it all the time.
  • NEVER share your passwords with friends. You may trust them, but once a password is given out, it’s out of your control.
  • ALWAYS assign completely separate passwords for business & professional partners, virtual assistants or any others who need access to your accounts. Maintain tight control over what each person can access with their password.
  • ALWAYS assign temporary passwords when you want to give someone access to your account for a single project. Delete the passwords afterward, or change them immediately.
  • NEVER stay logged in to websites. Log out each time you leave a website. While you’re logged in, your account’s security is compromised. If the network is insecure, your account is open to attacks and scanning. Don’t use the ‘remember me’ function some websites have. If you log in often, you can use a password manager to make it easier.
  • NEVER access password accounts through an unprotected Wi-Fi network. If you want to be on the safe side, avoid logging in on a wireless network at all, even if it’s secure.

It’s always better to be a little too worried about password protection than it is to end up losing your business to a hacker. Following these basic guidelines and developing good password habits can keep your accounts safe.