Change Your Passwords
Passwords are everywhere! It is the minimum security safeguard for all our devices – from our computers to ATM banking, to voice mail to security alarms.
Passwords that are easy to ‘hack' or guess are opportunities for attackers to access personal or sensitive information or install malware (malicious software).
So, here are some tips to keep your passwords and your devices secure:
- Use passwords on all of your devices, including your mobile phones, gaming stations, MP3 players, USB sticks, voice mail, security alarms, etc. TELUS WISE now provides Wise Internet and Smartphone Education. See the video: TELUS WISE – Let's Talk About Smartphone Safety & Security.
- Change the default passwords on your devices.
- If you must write your passwords down, don't leave your password with the user name. Store the password in a safe place out of sight of the computer.
- Change your password – including your banking PIN – regularly. It is much easier to change your password regularly than to deal with fraud.
- Don't get frustrated when using the password reminder systems on accounts. Be proud of your security-consciousness!
- Be creative with password reminder questions and don't be obvious with your answers. For example, you could use ‘Mr. Weatherbee' (from the Archie comics) as the answer to the question: “Who is your favourite teacher?”. Also, consider using a fictional birth place or maiden name that no one would guess.
- Important information should have increasingly complex passwords. Every additional character or symbol that you add to your password makes it hard to hack. (See the article “How I became a password cracker“).
- Don't use ‘remember me' options online. Choose security over convenience.
- Don't use the same passwords for many accounts.
- Find a system of passwords that work for you. Websites can generate random passwords, use a confirmation number for tickets that your purchased, come up with your personal code using the first letter of song titles, etc. Try using vanity license plates as your inspiration.
- Consider using a password manager application – it can securely manage unique user sign-on using multifactor authentication, create complex passwords, and be securely accessed from multiple devices.
- Using two-factor authentication is getting easier to do using your personal smart phone and other applications. You don't have to be rich and famous to want to protect your privacy.
Here's a resource from TELUS WISE® enter ‘password' in the search box for resources you can use right away.
More guidelines can be found at getcybersafe.ca.
- Make sure you have a unique user name and password on your computer.
- Ensure that you have changed your computer password in the last 90 days. (If not, change it now!).
- Check that you have changed your banking PIN in the last 90 days. (If not, change it now!).
- Set your internet browser to delete history and to never remember passwords.
- Set up a password on your smart phone.
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