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Protect Your Finances with Strong Passwords

Jul 14, 2023

When was the last time you updated your passwords?

Strong passwords are the first step to preventing fraud and protecting your personal and financial information. Traditionally, cyber security experts recommend you change your passwords about every three months so that potential hackers have their time inside your accounts cut short. Some recent advice, however, recommends that if your password is already strong, it’s not as necessary to change until you hear about a data breach, especially if you have two-factor authentication in place.

Regardless, as long as your password gets updated every year or so (not counting instances of fraud, hacking or data breaches), you’ve taken that first step for your security… but only if you have a good password.

If you haven’t already when performing your mid-year financial checkup, now is a great time to change your various financial passwords to ensure your accounts are safe and secure. Ready to start? Here are some tips!

How to create a strong password.

The main challenge lies in making a password that’s difficult to guess, but still easy enough for you to remember. Keep the advice below in mind:

  1. Use a combination of numbers, as well as upper and lower case letters.
  2. Use a different password for each account.
  3. Create passwords that are at least six characters long.
  4. Never use numbers or names publicly associated with you such as an address, birth date or pet’s name.
  5. Don’t use any form of your login name as your password.
  6. If you are struggling to remember your passwords, invest in a secure password storage program – some even give you access to your codes when using a different computer than your own.
  7. Remember to never give out your passwords to anyone, especially through e-mail or over the phone.

Additionally, try coming up with a “passphrase” to use as your password, which can be easier to remember and often have more characters, making them more secure. Your passphrase should make sense to you, but isn’t easily guessable. For example, if your favorite food is tomatoes, your password could be “Eat70m80esAllDay!”.

More characters mean a stronger password.

The longer your password, the harder it is to crack, especially by brute force. Consider this:

  • A 6-character password with only letters has 308,915,776 possible combinations.
  • An 8-character password with only letters has 208,827,064,576 possible combinations.
  • An 8-character password with letters (upper and lower case) and includes numbers and symbols has 6,095,689,385,410,816 possible combinations.

It’s simple logic! A hacker trying to guess your password by using every possible combination will have a tougher time the longer it is.

At Honda FCU, we keep your information encrypted and safe on our end and are constantly vigilant for unusual behavior, but your financial security starts with you. Create a strong password, keep it secret and rest easy knowing the first step is done.

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