Password Security: How To Protect Your Identity From Hackers

There are many factors when it comes to keeping your identity secure. While protecting your social security number, bank statements, and personal information is essential, your passwords are just as important to scammers. 

Consider these tips to strengthen your passwords and reduce the risk of becoming hacked.

Creating a strong password

Strong passwords usually involve a word or phrase that is easy to remember but hard to guess. In fact, some of the easiest passwords to solve involve names, birthdays, and keyboard patterns such as ‘qwerty’ or ‘1234.’ Scammers use advanced programs to steal passwords, which could be disastrous if you reuse the same password across multiple accounts. Strengthen your passwords using these tips:

  • Use at least 12 characters. A 12-character password takes 62 trillion times longer to crack than a six-character password.
  • Include capitalization, numbers, and symbols to make your password more complex.
  • Consider acronyms of phrases: Yjstb@nKwucB? (Why just bank when you can belong?)
  • Use passphrases: As@nemploy33,ur@membr2! (As an employee, you’re a member too!)

Keeping your passwords safe

Now that you’ve created a strong password, you may be wondering the best way to keep it secure. Avoid writing down passwords on sticky notes or paper that could be easily thrown away by mistake. A common way passwords are stolen is when they are seen by others in public, so if you choose to carry your passwords with you, keep them in a zipped bag or backpack and be aware of your surroundings.

If you prefer to track your passwords online, consider enabling a two-step authentication to access your accounts that contain personal information. Both a password and one-time code sent to your email or phone can minimize the chance your account becomes hacked, even if you were tricked into a phishing scam.

81% of hacking-related breaches were linked to weak or stolen passwords in 2023. Use your best judgement and take proactive steps to reduce the chance of becoming a victim. DO NOT send your information or passwords digitally through email or text message, even if it’s to a trusted friend. Send them through a second method of communication to verify (phone call, in-person conversation, etc.)

Cinfed will never contact you to ask for personal information such as an account number, PIN, or social security number. Do not share it unless YOU initiate the communication.