Keep your account passwords secure

Think you’ve got an unhackable password? Think again. Global consulting firm Deloitte claims that more than 90 percent of user-generated passwords are vulnerable to hacking. Guess using your dog’s name and birthday wasn’t so safe after all!

Here’s what you can do to make your passwords more secure:

Keep your passwords unique. Think of a phrase that only you would know. Replace certain letters with numbers or special characters. Making up your own acronyms, for example, is a safe and original way to come up with rock-solid passwords.

Don’t reuse your passwords. “One of the big problems is password re-use,” says Richard Lee, national managing partner in Deloitte’s Technology, Media & Telecom group. “A study by credit-checking firm Experian last year found that the average user has 26 password-protected online accounts, but uses only five different passwords.”

Look into password managers. It’s hard to remember a handful of passwords for a bunch of different websites. Password managers are convenient, and will even randomly generate strong passwords (such as eG7nIs0daud3Taw – we just made that one!) for your account. Password managers will also store those wild strings of letters and numbers for you in their encrypted cyber-vaults. Free apps include Dashlane, Password Box and Last Pass.

Set up two-step logins. Add an extra layer of security.“Think of it as a double password,” suggests Jolie Lee of USA Today. “Two-step authentication will ask you to sign in with your password, and then add a second sign-in, like a numeric code sent by text or email.”

Avoid clicking “Remember Password.” Almost any application that requires you to log in will also provide an option to save your password. Once you’ve agreed to this “convenience,” your password may as well be plain text for the hackers of the world to see. The tools to recover saved passwords are already in the hands of online criminals around the globe.