Skip to main content Skip to footer
Back to all articles

Keep Passwords Strong: Protection in 12 Characters or Less

Creating and using strong passwords can protect your identity, saving you time, money and the hassle of rebuilding your financial life. See TDECU's tips.
Keep Passwords Strong: Protection in 12 Characters or Less

It seems every time you visit a website you are asked to create yet another user account. This means creating another password – or using the same one you’ve used dozens of times before. How will you remember it while ensuring it’s strong enough to keep identity thieves at bay?

Perhaps it’s because creating strong passwords is so challenging that many people resort to using options like “Password” or “123456.” The problem with these passwords is that they can be easily guessed by identity thieves looking to steal your personal or financial information.

Creating and using strong passwords can protect your identity - saving you time, money and the hassle of rebuilding your financial life. Here are some tips to help.

  • Dig deep. When it comes to creating a password, it makes sense you’d want to use characters or words that draw on your own life… something you can remember easily. But because some types of information, such as your pet’s name or your birth date, are easily figured out through public records or social media, it’s important to dig deeper to find words or number combinations that aren’t easy to guess. Consider using digits from a childhood phone number, for example, or the date you graduated from high school. Identity thieves are less likely to find this type of information.

  • Mix it up. Be sure to use a combination of alphabetical and numerical characters. In fact, most secure websites require it. Individual websites vary on whether you can use special characters, but it’s good to use one as a substitute for a letter or number when they are allowed.

  • Make it unique. Here’s the hard part. Making a unique password for every online account you have may sound like an impossible chore. But consider the consequence. If an identity thief hacks one of your accounts, any of your accounts using this same password will be vulnerable. Making a unique password for every account is possible, though, with a system. Consider ways to customize your password for every site, such as by incorporating a few letters of the website name.

  • Use a password manager. This is a software program that generates and stores unique passwords for every site requiring one. Then all you have to do is create and remember one password, which you use for the password manager itself.

  • Update old passwords. It doesn’t sound like much fun, but you could benefit from going back through accounts and giving your passwords an update using the above tips. Make a list of all of your accounts and update them a few at a time, along with enabling other security measures the sites might have available, like security questions. Watch for marketing emails from businesses to help you remember what online accounts you have.

Once you’ve set up a system for creating unique, strong passwords, make sure to avoid writing them down. With a system only you can remember or with the help of a password manager, you won’t need to.

For more tips on staying safe online, visit our Online Fraud Center.

Live Chat