Passwords are the first line of defense in protecting access to our finances, credit information and identities. But we, as a collective nation, do a pretty lousy job of guarding that line.
“Protecting yourself isn’t hard, but it does require a little effort. Here are eight ways to beef up your online security. ”
Among baby boomers, 58 percent still don't use secure passwords, according to the 2016 Norton "Cybersecurity Insights Report." And digitally native millennials are even more vulnerable.
Passwords aren't foolproof, of course. Any determined hacker can get past them, just as a burglar can get past a locked door. But despite repeated warnings from experts, many people are still doing the digital equivalent of leaving a key in the lock of their front door.
Protecting yourself isn't hard, but it does require a little effort. Here are eight ways to beef up your online security.
1. Don't pick a weak password. As astonishing as it seems, people continue to use "123456" and "password" for their passwords, even though those have consistently been ranked the weakest, most easily guessable passwords for years. When you're asked to create or update a password for a site, avoid simple patterns that are easily guessed. SplashData and TeamsID suggest you select something that's 12 characters or longer, using letters, numbers and other symbols.
2. Use multifactor authentication. An increasing number of online services that revolve around sensitive information (such as Gmail, online bank accounts and Slack, a group communication system favored by many companies) offer the option for an additional step between entering your password and accessing your account. (Typically, a code is sent to the phone number you have on record.) It takes a bit longer to gain entrée to the site, but it's a notable deterrent for someone trying to compromise your account.