Not a day goes by when we don’t hear about yet another website being hacked and personal passwords being culled by hackers, only to be released online for the masses to view. Because password security has become such a major issue we have created some top tips for keeping your passwords safe in an ever increasing hacker filled environment.

Password Encryptions

Use An Encrypted Password Vault Application

Services such as 1Password,  LastPass and KeePass offer “password vaults” in which users can store all of their passwords in one location, accessing them with a single password. These and other programs are highly encrypted which allows users to safely access passwords from one centralized key. In many cases password vaults are installed on a users mobile device or PC and can auto-fill passwords once the centralized password is entered.

The Bit Is Your Key To Security

When you decide to use a password protection program make sure  to choose a program with a high encryption rate. The programs offered above each feature 256-bit AES encryption. The higher the bit count the better the encryption.

Change Your Passwords Regularly

The longer you use a password the more likely that password is to be stolen. As a general rule of thumb it is recommended that a users password is changed every 30 to 60 days. When changing your password try to use someone patently different than the original to avoid attempts at hacking your accounts.

Use Complex Passwords With No Associations To Your Real Life

While 01011980 might be your birthday it’s not a good password. Hackers will often use brute force attempts to steal your passwords, plugging in dates, dictionary words and commonly used passwords. To create a strong password use uppercase and lowercase letters, numbers, and symbols in your passwords. For example instead of “JohnSmith” you might use “JoHn5mith!” Avoid family member names, birthdays, anniversary’s and other common personal themes.

Use Multiple Passwords For Different Platforms

While remembering the password “123LetMeIn!” might be simple, one platform being hacked means all of your online accounts can be accessed. For example LinkedIn was recently hacked and if your username and password were stolen hackers could access Gmail, Yahoo Mail, Hotmail, Facebook, Twitter and other accounts to see if your username and password work on other websites.  If you refuse to use a different password for every website you access at least use different passwords for banking and other highly sensitive accounts.

[Image via GFI]