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Improve your password security

Did you know that this time last week it was World Password Day? The first Thursday in May serves as an annual reminder for us to check and update our passwords.

To help you stay safe online, here are four simple things you can do right now to help you improve your overall password security.

  1. Check to see what, if any, passwords have been leaked.
  2. Update your passwords.
  3. Ensure you are using strong passwords.
  4. Use a password manager.

Check to see what, if any, passwords have been leaked

Unfortunately, it’s possible that you’ve had passwords leaked over the last few years. This is from data breaches which are regrettably becoming a way of life.

But don’t worry; you can check whether or not your details have been leaked on haveibeenpwned.com. Just type in your email address or phone number and it will search its database, letting you know if any sites or organisations have compromised your passwords. You should do this for all your email addresses.

Update your passwords

If any breaches appear in the search, we strongly recommend that you consider updating your password as it means that your password may be in the hands of cybercriminals. Anyone who has your password can log in as you, so you need to change those passwords ASAP. If you have used the password on other sites, change the password on those too. Make sure you follow the strong password guide below when updating your passwords.

Even if you don’t feature in any breaches, you should still update your passwords today!

Use strong passwords

One of the best ways you can protect your accounts is to use a strong password. You can make your passwords strong by:

  • Using random phrases, numbers and letters.
  • Using upper and lower case letters.
  • Using extended characters such as “#”, “$”, and “&”.
  • Using passphrases. Take the phrase "I love working with the Neighbourhood Watch!" and generate a password based on that to form IlwWtnhW!. You can use words from your favourite song or book, still including spaces or symbols.
  • Avoiding birth dates, anniversaries, mother’s maiden names, pet, child or spouse details.  These are all common passwords and very easy to work out.

If you need help creating passwords, you can always use a secure password generator. Use a search engine to find one that works for you.

Use a password manager

We also recommend that you:

  • Don’t email your passwords or provide them over the phone to anyone.
  • Don’t write passwords down and store them in a place where they can be easily accessed.
  • Use a unique password for every account.
  • Change your passwords regularly.

To help, you can use a password manager which is a secure way to store your passwords, hidden behind one master password (the only password you need to remember). A password manager can be installed on all smart devices and not only does it store your passwords, it can assist you in generating a strong new one when you need to create or change a password.

While reviewing and changing passwords takes time, it’s a very important step to take to better protect you online. Make these four steps a regular occurrence and you’ll be much safer online.

If you’re interested in joining the Neighbourhood Watch SA find your nearest group here and get in touch!

Follow Neighbourhood Watch SA on Facebook for the latest news, updates and crime prevention hints & tips.