With technology dominating more and more of people's personal and professional lives, it's easy to lose track of passwords for smartphones, tablets, laptops, desktops and more. In addition, for many people, keeping track of online user names and passwords for various accounts - email, shopping, social networks, etc. - has also become a hassle, and therefore an inconvenience.
In fact, according to a survey conducted by Norton by Symantec, when given a list of potentially challenging activities, 40 percent of people ranked remembering passwords among one of the top three most difficult tasks. This ranking preceded even balancing a checkbook.
That same survey also found that 70 percent of respondents had forgotten at least one password in a single month, which is why for many, opting for an easier-to-remember, though weaker password is preferred. But weak passwords leave accounts and devices more vulnerable to hackers and scam artists, which also plays a role in identity theft. Therefore, it's important to create strong passwords.
Creating a Strong Password
According to the United States Computer Emergency Readiness Team (US-CERT), following these steps can help you create a stronger password:
Use a combination of both uppercase and lowercase letters, numbers and special characters when possible.
Longer passwords are more complicated and thus stronger. If a website allows for passwords between six to eight characters, make sure to take advantage of the longer character allowance.
Refrain from using personal dates, such as birthdays, or names, such as those of your spouse or child. This information can be discovered by people within your social circle, as well as hackers, so creating codes around words you'll remember makes for stronger passwords, rather than full words or names.
- Do not use the same password across multiple accounts. For example, if you have created a password for online banking, do not use that same password to access your work or personal email account.
For more tips on creating a stronger, less vulnerable password, visit http://www.us-cert.gov/cas/tips.
Conveniently and Safely Store Your Passwords
For those who have difficulty remembering complicated passwords however, new services can lend a hand. Norton Identity Safe - a free service - allows you to conveniently save and synchronize your passwords on all your devices, while keeping you safe and secure. The service also allows you to avoid potentially risky websites, and share URLs via email and social networks safely through Identity Safe itself.
With Identity Safe you can log in with a single, master password, then access all of your other accounts and passwords through your work or personal computer, or via the app on an iPhone, iPad or Android device.
While it may be tempting to create simple passwords to use across multiple devices or accounts, taking the time to create secure passwords can save you from having to sort out fraudulent charges on banking or credit accounts. It can also save you from the time-consuming process of having to recover from the damages of identity theft.
To learn more about making technology work for you, visit https://identitysafe.norton.com.Photo courtesy of Getty Images