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5 tips for safer online passwords

25 June 2024
• 2 minute read
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Everyone loves a good stat. So, let’s start with one:

In 2023, over $50m was lost to fraudulent access to personal information according to Scamwatch.

With cyber threats becoming increasingly sophisticated, safeguarding your online accounts with strong passwords is essential to protect your personal information. Here are five tips to enhance your password security and keep your online accounts safe.

1. Create strong passwords

The easiest way to protect yourself online is to create passwords that are difficult to guess.

‘Password1’ won’t cut the mustard. And forget about using your pet’s name, a loved-one’s birthday, or your address. These can be guessed by any persistent hacker.

A strong password should be at least 12 characters long and include a combination of:

  • uppercase letters
  • lowercase letters
  • numbers
  • special characters (symbols)

We’ll let you know how to remember complicated passwords in your next tip, coming up right now…

2. Use unique passwords for each service

One of the biggest mistakes people make is reusing passwords across multiple accounts.

While it may seem convenient, using the same password for different services puts all your accounts at risk. If one account is compromised, hackers can potentially access all your other accounts. To avoid this risk, use a different, strong password for each service.

Okay, so how do you remember multiple complex passwords if you can barely remember what day it is?

Luckily, you don’t have to. Password manager apps like LastPass, Keepass2Android or Dashlane help you store your passwords. They even auto-fill your passwords when logging into your various accounts.

3. Change your passwords regularly

Just like your toothbrush, undies and smoke detector batteries, your passwords need to be changed regularly. Look to change them every few months (your passwords, not your undies).

This reduces the likelihood of your accounts being compromised over time. And remember, never share your passwords with anyone, even if they claim to be from a legitimate organisation like your bank.

4. Beware of public Wi-Fi

Public Wi-Fi networks, such as those found in cafes or shopping centres, may seem convenient, but they can pose significant security risks.

When you connect to public Wi-Fi, others sharing the same network could potentially intercept your online communications, including your login details.

Avoid logging into sensitive accounts or making financial transactions while connected to public Wi-Fi networks. Instead, use a trusted and secure internet connection, such as your home Wi-Fi or a Virtual Private Network (VPN) to ensure your data stays safe.

5. Review your security settings regularly

Finally, don't overlook the importance of regularly reviewing the security settings of your online accounts.

Many online services offer extra security features, such as two-factor authentication or biometric authentication (face or fingerprint recognition). Take advantage of these features. Monitor your accounts for any suspicious activity and promptly report any unauthorised access to your service provider.

Follow these five tips to substantially improve the security of your online passwords and better protect your personal information from cyber threats.

Password security isn’t something to be taken lightly. Investing time and effort into creating and managing strong passwords is a small price to pay when millions are at stake.

Important Information

Great Southern Bank, a business name of Credit Union Australia Ltd ABN 44 087 650 959, AFSL and Australian Credit Licence Number 238317. Conditions, fees and charges apply. This is general information and does not take into account your objectives, financial situation or needs. Consider the appropriateness of the information, including the Terms and Conditions (T&Cs) booklet, before acting on it. The Financial Claims Scheme may apply to this product; refer to the T&Cs for more information.

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