With many more people online at the moment, it is particularly important to take cybersecurity measures seriously in order to keep your personal information and details safe in the face of hackers. Ensuring online security starts with the most obvious part, the password. Ahead of World Password Day, Google has released some of their tips on how to create a stronger password and how to stay safe online.
How to create a strong password
#1 Length is important. A strong password will be 8-9 characters long.
#2 Use a mix of characters. A strong password will contain a combination of letters (lowercase and uppercase), numbers and symbols.
#3 Make sure there are no ties to your personal information. Avoid using your birthdate or your child’s name.
#4 Try an easy to remember sentence!
a) For example, I have two cats at home named Tom and Jerry.
b) Now let’s take the first letter of each word using upper and lowercase letters where appropriate. That should give you IhtcahnTaJ
c) Where possible, replace letters with numbers or symbols: Ih2c@hnT&J
5. Use unique passwords. Reusing passwords is risky. But how can you easily remember multiple passwords? In addition to creating your passwords using an easy-to-remember sentence, you can also use a password manager like https://passwords.google.com/.
How to be strong online
1. Create a strong password. Choose at least 8 characters and use combinations of letters (uppercase and lowercase), numbers, and symbols.
2. Switch it up. Use a different password for each of your important accounts.
3. Get creative. Don’t use a password that’s easy to guess, like your nickname, just the name of your school, favourite basketball team, a string of numbers (like 123456), etc. And definitely don’t use the word “password”!
4. Avoid getting personal. Don’t use personal information (name, address, email, phone
number, your mom’s maiden name, birth dates, etc.), or common words in your password.
5. Don’t hesitate to change your password. (Immediately change your password if you know or believe it may be known by someone other than a trusted adult.)
Five things you can do right now to be more secure
#1 Set up a recovery phone number or email address, and keep it updated
Do this so that you have a backup plan for when there is suspicious activity occurring on your account. It can also, of course, help you get back into your account as quickly as possible.
#2 Use unique passwords for your accounts
Having a hundred different passwords can be difficult to keep track of, so consider either writing them all down on a piece of paper to remember them or simply use Google Chrome’s built-in password manager.
#3 Keep your software up to date
If you’re using the operating systems below, here’s where you can look to learn how to check & update the software on your devices:
#4 Go a step further by setting up two-factor authentication
Setting up two-factor authentication makes it significantly harder for other people to gain access to your accounts. It essentially requires you to take a second step each time you sign in to your account on top of your username and password. For example, you may need to enter a code sent to your phone via SMS or answer personal questions.
#5 Take the Google Security Checkup
Taking the Security Checkup doesn’t just help make you safer while using Google. The Checkup also includes personalized tips to keep you safer across the web, like helping you set up a screen lock on your mobile phone and advising you to remove risky third-party sites and apps that have access to your account.