5 ways to manage your online passwords + tips for creating stronger passwords
Most of us have multiple passwords that we use to log in to our online accounts, like financial services, apps, social media and streaming subscriptions. While it’s important to create strong passwords to keep our personal information secure, it can be hard to remember and keep track of them all. With many people working remotely — and doing more of their holiday shopping online this season due to the pandemic — the tips below can help you log in and shop more securely, helping reduce the potential for fraud.
5 tips for creating stronger passwords
A strong password is one of the most effective ways to block unauthorized access to your accounts and help prevent identity fraud and security breaches. Jill Brungardt, Commerce Bank’s IT Director of Security, share these best practices for creating strong passwords:
- Use a minimum of 8 to 10 characters that include at least one upper- and lower-case letter, number and special character.
- Use a phrase or sentence that’s easy for you to remember but hard for others to guess.
- Replace some characters with the character requirements from above. For instance, take the phrase I love the Kansas City Chiefs and construct the password !L0ve+h3KcC!
- Avoid using personal information or easy to guess dates like birthdays, anniversaries or ZIP codes.
- Avoid using simple dictionary words or repetitive characters, sequences or patterns.
Keep your passwords safe and secure
Brundgart also recommends using multi-factor authentication when available, which adds an extra level of security by requiring you to enter a second piece of information. Other tips for protecting your information include:
- Avoid using the same password for all of your accounts. That way, if someone gains access to one of your passwords, they won’t gain access to all of your accounts.
- Don’t share your password with others. Commerce Bank will never send you a request asking for your personal or banking information. Contact us directly if you receive any type of request. Don’t reply to an email or phone call, even if it seems legitimate.
- When shopping online, only share personal information on encrypted websites.
- Don’t access your accounts from unsecured or public Wi-Fi. Doing so could expose your passwords and other information to thieves.
- If you suspect any of your accounts have been hacked, change your passwords immediately.
It’s also a smart idea to check your bank statements regularly to make sure there are no unauthorized charges. Learn more here about what to do if you notice fraudulent activity. Commerce Bank customers can also set up suspicious card activity text alerts through online banking or the Commerce mobile app.
5 ways to manage online passwords
Once you’ve created strong passwords, having a system in place for organizing and storing them is the best way to help you keep track of them all.
Password management software. Password managers are a convenient and secure option for keeping track of all your passwords. Available for desktop and mobile devices, they store all of your username and password combinations in one place. Password managers can automatically log you into your accounts, and many will even generate new, random passwords for you. The best part? You only have to remember one master password in order to unlock all of your other passwords. Most password managers are able to sync across all of your digital devices.
There are several different password managers offering both free and paid versions, such as LastPass, Dashlane and Keeper. While most work the same way, some have different features, so it’s a good idea to do some research and find the one that best suits your needs. Whatever you choose, be sure your software and device are up to date for the latest protection.
Password protection hardware. Also referred to as a local password manager, password protection hardware, such as Everykey, is a physical hardware key that stores all of your passwords. Simply plug it into your device when you need to access your credentials and remove it when you’re finished. This type of system offers extra security — in the event that your computer is lost or stolen you’ll still have access to your password key. The only catch? You’ll need to remember to carry the key with you.
- Browser password managers. This type of system stores passwords in your device’s browser preferences, providing a quick and convenient way to access login credentials that you can’t remember. If you do use this system, be sure that your device is always password protected so strangers can’t access your information.