Create a strong password

Weak passwords, those that aren't hard to guess or are common words, can be easily cracked. Strong passwords are VERY important. Here are some tips for creating or changing a password:-

  • Use a different password for each online account you have. Using the same password for more than one account risks multiple exposures if one site you use is hacked;
  • Do not use people's names or special dates as passwords. Avoid any combination of characters that friends or acquaintances can easily guess;
  • Use syllables or acronyms. Avoid using complete words that appear in any dictionary regardless of the language. One option is to start with the first letters of a familiar phrase. For example, "Mary had a little lamb" becomes "Mhall" which could be part of a secure password;
  • Mix it up! Use a combination of upper and lower case letters, numbers, and punctuation/ special characters, such as &^$#;
  • Change your password regularly, especially your financial and email accounts.

Keep your password safe

Having a strong password is only one of the steps in protecting your accounts. Here are some tips to help you keep your password safe:-    

  • Keep it to yourself. Do not share your password with others. You never know what the future will bring in relationships or coworkers, so do not give your password out, to anyone;
  • Keep your passwords safe. Don’t write them down in a place where others can find them. There are programs available where you can securely store your passwords.

Choose a good username

Your username is the key to your online identity on many sites. Here are some tips for choosing a good user name:-

  1. Pick a username that you can remember. If you create a name that's unusual for you, you may not remember it the next time you log on;
  2. Make it simple. Unlike your password, Avoid using too many symbols or upper and lower case letters. It'll slow you down when you type it in;
  3. Never use a personally identifiable number, such as your National Insurance Number, as a username or password. National Insurance Numbers may be hard to guess and easy to remember, but they could give malicious fraudsters a coveted piece of personal information that can be exploited;
  4. Decide whether you want to remain anonymous. On some community sites, your user name will appear next to each of your public posts;
  5. Slow down. If you choose a username in haste, you may not be able to change it later. This is especially important for accounts that stay with you for years.