Internet Passwords: Tips for Staying Safe Online

27 Jun 2013
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These days we have to remember a huge number of passwords each day just to get access to our favourite websites. Despite being frustrating to use, passwords still remain the best way to stay secure online.

Whether you are an individual or a business, you need to practice good password habits if you want to keep your private data and accounts private. If you don’t, you could find your personal or business accounts getting hacked, and this could lead to identity theft and other serious problems.

Staying Safe With Your Passwords

There are a few simple rules for making your accounts as secure as possible, and if you stick to these then at least you know that you are doing all that you can to stay safe online.

Firstly, choose long passwords wherever possible – in the region of 15 to 20 characters – and try to include letters, numbers and symbols. Don’t use recognisable words, but instead make them random.

Use a different password for every single account. If you use the same password for all of your accounts, if one password gets hacked you could find that the hacker is able to break into all of your accounts in a very short space of time.

Consider keeping track of your long, random passwords in a dedicated software application. There are a number of these applications available, some of which are free and some of which you have to pay to use, so try to find one that works for you.

Always use two-step authentication where it is available. This is available from Gmail and Facebook among other services, and means if you enter your password from a new computer, the website will send you a text message with a code to ensure that it is in fact you trying to get access.

New Technologies that Could Replace the Password

Passwords will not be around forever in their current form, and there have been many predictions about what the future could hold for passwords. Although no one idea has come out as the most likely, some of the recent ideas to have been announced include the following:

  • Google recently filed a patent for a replacement password that uses recognition of facial gestures such as winking or raising an eyebrow [Source], as this could provide a defence against people using a photo for facial recognition systems.
  • Motorola unveiled a pill at the D11 conference at the end of May 2013 that contains a tiny chip that can create a signal. The user can swallow the pill and then they only have to touch a device to authenticate it. At the same time, it also unveiled a temporary electronic tattoo that can be stuck onto the skin that contains a tiny LED and can be used to authenticate devices. [Source]
  • Earlier this year, Google suggested that physical devices such as rings and items of jewellery could be used in place of passwords, where users could simply plug them into their computers or tap them on their devices to log into websites securely. [Source]

 

Stay Safe Online

All of these security options could well become common in the future, but so far they have not become a reality. Until they do, you will need to practice good security tips online with your passwords. Follow the simple tips above to ensure you remain as safe as possible, and don’t suffer from identity theft and other serious problems as a result of failing to take the proper precautions. 

 

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles / FreeDigitalPhotos.net