As your financial advisor, I believe your personal safety online is of the highest importance. That’s why I am writing to share some important tips on making sure your passwords are strong enough to keep your data as safe as possible.
You wouldn’t leave your house unlocked while you’re on a two-week vacation – so don’t leave your personal information unlocked with easy-to-guess passwords! You probably already know the basics: don’t use “password” or “password1,” your name or any of your family members’ names, don’t write your passwords on a sticky note next to your computer, and don’t reuse passwords from one site to another.
What you may not know is how easy it is for the bad actors to figure out passwords that look secure, such as substituting a zero for the letter O (“passw0rd”), common phrases are easy for today’s sophisticated criminals to guess in a short time.
Here are the top recommendations for creating strong passwords:
- Use a different password for each online account. The average person has more than 100 passwords, so this can be challenging. A password manager such as LastPass or Dashlane can help you keep all your passwords under control.
- Create a long password—at least 8 characters long—containing:
a. 1 capital letter
b. 1 lowercase letter
c. 1 number (but avoid number sequences such as 123, 111)
d. 1 special character (note: some systems limit the types of special characters you can use) Tip: Use the first letter of each word of a common phrase—“I want pizza with mushrooms and extra cheese” would be Iwpwmaec,” for example. Add a number you can remember to that, capitalize a letter in the middle, and you have a password that would be very hard to crack.
- Consider using “passphrases”—random unrelated words put together
A common example for this is: correcthorsebatterystaple – just pick four unrelated words you can remember!
- Change your passwords frequently. Set a reminder to change your passwords every 3 months.
- Avoid using default passwords. If you are assigned a password when you sign up, be sure to change it right away.
Finally, password security is important, but identity theft protection can go beyond fraud alerts and credit freezes to detect additional forms of identity fraud with existing accounts, or criminal, medical, or Social Security misuse. ID360 is available to you and your family at a substantial discount because of your affiliation with Cetera Financial Group. Visit https://www.identitylockdown.com/Cetera to learn more.
Please feel free to reach out to me if you’d like more information about keeping your personal information secure. Thank you for allowing me to work with you to reach your financial goals, and I wish you continued success.
Steve Lindquist is a registered representative offering securities and advisory services through Cetera Advisor Networks LLC, member FINRA/SIPC. Cetera is under separate ownership from any other named entity. Registered address: 9600 S McCarran Blvd., Reno NV 89523.
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