No matter where you venture on the internet, data security is always a concern. Virtual banks take security very seriously, featuring some of the strongest security protocols in the banking industry.
However, no amount of online protection can help you if your password is weak. Security starts with the individual, and choosing a strong password that's hack-proof is the first step to protecting your vital banking information.
What Makes a Good Password?
The best password is a long, random string of letters, numbers, and symbols, such as the following: dtB5*d$3H72xM89#y. It would take a bank of computers working around the clock hundreds of years to guess that password. Of course, random strings of characters are very difficult to remember, and so this password fails for reasons other than security.
Thankfully it's possible to create strong passwords that aren't impossible to memorize, as long as you follow a few simple pieces of advice.
Avoid Simple Words or Phrases
Single words make terrible passwords such as "sun" or "red." These can be guessed by a computer program in minutes. Adding an extra word doesn't help much, particularly if the two words are related, such as "sunblock" or "redwine." Dictionary words are attractive because they're easy to remember, but they don't do a good job of protecting your accounts.
The exception to this rule is a string of random words at least four words in length. It's the length of the password and the random, unrelated nature of the words that make a password so hard to crack. Add some numbers and special symbols, and the password is uncrackable. An example would be “applebookcatdoor1!3^5*.”
Longer is Better
Most websites now require at least eight characters for a valid password, but that isn't nearly long enough. At a minimum, 12 characters should be required. Remember that passwords are uncovered by hackers using rapid, brute force guessing. The more characters your password has the more possible combinations exist, and the longer it will take to guess. Include upper and lower case letters, as well as numbers and special characters. Many sites now require passwords to include some or all of these, but you should make it a habit to include all of them regardless.
It's important to note that obvious substitutions don't improve passwords either. For example, dollar signs and 3s are frequently substituted for Ss and Es.
Don't Use the Same Passwords for Multiple Sites
It’s hard to remember passwords for every site you visit but consider the alternative. If a hacker breaks into the server for a website you have an account with and steals your password, they'll have your access to every site you have an account with, including your virtual bank. Since not every site takes security seriously, using the same password everywhere is a bad idea.
If keeping track of different passwords is a concern, download a password manager. These apps will store your passwords and keep them fully encrypted so that only you can see them.
Keep the Hackers Out
Choosing a reasonably long password that's meaningful to you, and randomly inserting some capital letters, numbers and special symbols will create a password that is complex enough to keep your virtual bank account safe.
About: Mr. Rory Brown has focused on financial technology and investment management for 30+ years. Rory Brown is currently working on a new app that will help consumers navigate online banking. The app will connect clients with the best virtual banks in the world, where they can get comparisons on rates for home loans, auto loans, and more.
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