Password Leaks: 10 tips for keeping your online accounts safe

Follow ten important tips to defend yourself against password leaks.

With data breaches becoming more common as hackers continue to gain access to sites, you may be thinking, why change your passwords when you will just have to change them again next week? We don’t blame you for that sentiment, but it is not a good train of thought. When a data breach occurs, it is always a good idea to change your passwords. A good password is your first line of defense in keeping your personal information protected from cybercriminals.

Follow these important tips to better defend yourself against a password leak:

  1. Make sure that your Kaspersky software is up-to-date. While you can’t stop a cybercriminal from hacking into a site, you can stop them from accessing your personal information on your own devices. Kaspersky is your proactive defense against new and existing threats whenever you shop, bank, and browse online.
  1. Apply security patches to both your operating system and applications as soon as they are released. Don’t put it off! Turning on automatic updates will help.
  1. Don’t click on links or attachments in unsolicited messages. It’s always better to type an URL directly into your browser to avoid the risk of being taken to a phishing site.
If you find it hard to remember lots of complex passwords, consider installing a password manager that can remember them all for you
  1. Use unique and complex passwords. This means passwords that combine letters, numbers and special characters; that are at least eight characters – ideally 15; and that don’t use personal information (such as a spouse or pet’s name, etc.) or words – any word at all – that can be found in a dictionary. Test the strength of your password using Kaspersky’s Secure Password Check
  1. Do not use the same password for multiple accounts. If a company suffers a data breach and your login and password is compromised, the attackers can use the same credentials to compromise the other online accounts you have.
  1. Change your passwords often. A good rule is to change them at least every three months.
  1. Use a password manager to keep track of all your passwords. If you find it hard to remember lots of complex passwords, consider installing a password manager that can remember them all for you – you just need to remember a single master password. Check out Kaspersky’s free Password Manager.
  1. Don’t share your passwords with anyone. This probably goes without saying, but it is important that you keep your passwords to yourself. As soon as you tell one other person, you’ve lost control of the key to your personal information.
  1. Use two-factor authentication, if it’s available.  Increasingly, online providers help you secure your account by requiring you to enter a one-time code as well as your normal password (e.g. a code sent via SMS to your mobile device).
  1. Keep a close eye on your different accounts for any suspicious activity, and contact the providers immediately if you see anything at all amiss.