Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Password Best Practices for Members

As more services are offered online, members should take increased security measures to protect their information.  One area of online security which could be improved is diligence in the use of strong passwords when going on-line.  These simple measures will help to protect both individual members and the credit union as a whole.  Even if Internet users have the best intentions when it comes to password security, their actions typically do not follow suit, putting their accounts at increased risk for loss. Please consider and implement the following suggestions for making your online passwords more secure:

  • Do not use the same password for multiple accounts.
  • Use unique passwords. Do not use passwords on any common password lists, such as SplashData’s annual list of worst Internet passwords.
  • Use passwords with a variety of character types (i.e., use passwords that contain upper and lower case letters, numbers and special, non-alphanumeric characters). The more uncommon the combination of letters, numbers and symbols used in a password, the safer it will be.
  • Use passwords that are at least eight characters long. The longer the password, the stronger it will be.
  • Use password generators to create random passwords.
  • Do not use passwords that are based on personal information (e.g., birthday, Social Security number, nicknames, names of family members, etc.).
  • Do not use single dictionary words for passwords. Such passwords are susceptible to dictionary attacks.
  • Use pass phrases instead of passwords.
  • Do not use passwords derived from strings of sequential numbers or letters (e.g., 123456 and qwerty).
  • Do not use standard number substitutions (e.g., p455word instead of password).
  • Use multifactor authentication when available. Facebook, Google, Microsoft and Twitter all offer multiple layers of authentication.
  • Change passwords periodically, especially for major accounts such as those for banking and shopping sites.
  • Keep computers and browsers patched, updated and malware free

If your read some of the above suggestions and found that you are doing some of the things which it suggests you "not do", make changes now to improve your password security.  As we evolve technologically as a society, we all need to change bad habits and be more vigilant with online security.