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How to Protect Your Accounts With Strong Passwords

Learn techniques to protect your information from data breaches and scammers.

by Navy Federal on July 25, 2018 | Tag(s): Security

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Most of us are concerned about cybersecurity and how to keep our personal information safe. As of June 30, 2018, the Identity Theft Resource Center reported 668 breaches, with more than 22 million records exposed. With a little extra caution and a few simple steps, you can outsmart the bad guys and minimize your risk.

What You Should Know

Several recent reports have identified areas where we can strengthen our security. For example, Kaspersky Labs found:

  • 42 percent of consumers report they’ve encountered or were targeted by online malware
  • 70 percent of respondents don’t have new passwords for different accounts

And, in a report on adoption of two-factor authentication, Duo Labs noted that only 28 percent have embraced this option for their online accounts.

What You Can Do

Strong Username and Password. Create unique usernames and passwords for each online account. Some tips for increasing their strength include the following:

Usernames

  • Create a username between 6 and 32 characters
  • Include at least one letter and one number
  • Don’t use part of your email address, Social Security Number, birthday, account or access numbers

Passwords

  • Create a password between 8 and 32 characters
  • Include at least one number, one letter, one capital letter and one special character (like %&^)
  • Use a mnemonic sentence (for example, “My friend, Ellen, lived in Pittsburgh, PA!” could become MfElinPPA!). Then, for added security, replace the letters with numbers and/or special characters (Mf3l1nPP@!).

Don’t use these for your password:

  • Part of your email address
  • Social Security Number
  • Birthday
  • Pet name
  • Family names
  • Account or access numbers
  • Dictionary words (Lots of people still use “password.” It’s the easiest to hack.)

Keep in mind that longer usernames and passwords are far more difficult to crack. For example, “My loving but crazy friend Kate has over 12 cats!” could be “MlbcfKh012c!” The resulting password looks random, but it’s easy to remember.

Two-Factor Authentication. Consider using two-factor authentication (TFA) where it’s available to you. TFA adds a second layer of security by requiring a password plus another form of identification, such as a unique code sent by text. Users are either asked to enable TFA upon a login or can check their account security settings.

Suspicious Messages. We’ve all read that you should never respond to or click on links in emails from unfamiliar senders. That’s good advice for text messages, phone calls and social media messages, too. If it’s someone you don’t know or you didn’t initiate the contact, hit “delete”!

Storing Personal Information. Don’t store personal information on digital devices, especially passwords and account login details or financial data.

Now that you’re armed with information on account security, be sure your Navy Federal username and password are secure.

This article is intended to provide general information and shouldn't be considered legal, tax or financial advice. It's always a good idea to consult a tax or financial advisor for specific information on how certain laws apply to your situation and about your individual financial situation.