Attended an eye-opening and frankly scary webinar last night that I ran for a client. It was about new cyber threats and tools for protecting your data in 2022, presented by cyber security expert Dr. Jennifer Bayuk. I’m on top of it this morning, as I’ve clearly been ignoring important steps I can take to protect my data. Here are her tips and tools regarding passwords:

1. Choose Strong Passwords
I’ve heard a lot about this, and thought I was doing a good job, but the tools shown in tip #4 proved me wrong.

Create passwords based on phrases that remind you of the account and make you smile. Use a mixture of upper and lower case letters, numbers and symbols. Dr. Bayuk’s example was “I like to shop at Talbot’s” : !|2$h0p4(@T’5

2. Don’t use the same password for multiple accounts
For less important accounts (like the library or a news site – somewhere that doesn’t have any financial information) using the same password pattern is fine, but still keep each one unique.

For banks and credit card accounts and anywhere that has any kind of financial information, take extra care creating your passwords.

3. Use multi-factor authentication whenever it’s available
I really dislike the extra time it takes for getting the secondary code, etc., but it will help protect my data.

4. Use a tool to assess how good your passwords are:

The example from step one will take 21 centuries to crack according to password monster!

5. Don’t store passwords on your computer or phone. Write them down the old fashioned way!

Anything on an electronic device is exposed to hacking.

So I’m spending my morning going through my accounts (starting with the important financial accounts), changing my passwords and writing them down.