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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 August 9, 2017 | Tag(s): Security

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According to the Identity Theft Resource Center, there were record 7,779 data breaches from 2005 to August 2, 2017. Over the last several years, hackers have stolen hundreds of millions of pieces of private information about people. This includes credit card information consisting of names, account numbers, expiration dates and card verification values along with people’s dates of birth, Social Security Numbers, email addresses, employment information and income data. It’s more important than ever to be vigilant about internet account security.

Are Consumers Being Cautious Enough?

  • In the past year, 40 percent of consumers experienced a security incident and 70 percent of those victims changed their passwords as a result.
  • 73 percent of people use the same password for multiple accounts.
  • 61 percent of consumers have not enabled two-factor authentication (TFA) for any of their online accounts. 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.
  • A global survey by Kaspersky Lab showed that 88 percent of consumers store personal information on digital devices, including passwords and account login details (48 percent) and financial data (28 percent).

Improving Your Security

Follow these tips to help keep your accounts under your control:

  • Use unique passwords for each account. To help keep track, you could have groups of passwords for different categories such as banking and shopping, but add small variations per website. So for Amazon and eBay, you might use the same portion of a password, but add on characters specific to each site. For example, “yourApasswordZ” for Amazon versus “yourEpasswordB” for eBay.
  • Create passwords of 12+ characters. If hackers are attempting to brute force (continually guess) your password, longer ones are far more difficult to crack.
  • Avoid personal information or real words. If a hacker learns personal information, such as pet and family names, he or she could easily gain access to your various accounts. Using any word in the dictionary (“password” being the most popular) is also a risk in so-called dictionary attacks. These attacks have a computer go through a list of possible words listed in the dictionary when trying to guess your password.
  • Use mnemonics, or techniques to help you remember complicated, yet memorable passwords. Stringing letters together in a phrase makes it even easier. For example, “My loving but crazy friend Kate has over 12 cats!” would be “MlbcfKho12c!” The resulting password looks random, but it’s easy to remember.

Now that you’re armed with information on account security, be sure your Navy Federal password is secure. Learn more about how to stay secure through both your online and mobile devices to ensure your assets are protected.

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.