Tips on Password Security

Password SecuritySo much of your life is now managed on the Internet.  Your bank accounts, medical records, job-related information, educational records, social networks, etc. are just some examples of websites that help you manage aspects of your life.  All of these examples have one thing in common; they all require you to enter a password in order to access the information they contain.

Keeping your passwords safe is a critical element to protecting your finances and other personal or sensitive information.  Not surprisingly, many people do not take the easy steps necessary to prevent unauthorized access to their information.  Use the suggestions below to help keep your personal information safe, secure and private.

  1. Avoid Common Passwords
    • The most common passwords are obvious codes, such as "Password", "123456", or "qwerty."  Such obvious passwords are among the first that a hacker use when trying to access your accounts.   Don't choose common words, names, or letter/number combinations that make it easy for a hacker to "guess" your password.
  2. No Personal Information
    • Don't choose passwords that contain names, dates, or other easily guess information. If your password contains names or dates that can be found on your Facebook profile, you have an insecure password subject to hacking.
  3. Length Matters
    • Choose passwords at or near the maximum characters allowed for a given site or application. If your site permits passwords of 10 characters, then create a password in the 8-10 character range.  The longer your password, the more you are able to secure that password.
  4. Don't Use Twice
    • As tempting as it is, don't use a password on more than one site or application.  Create a new password for each.  In the event a password is compromised, you put at risk only one site and not several.
  5. According to Webster....
    • If your password can be found in Webster's Dictionary, you have an insecure password.  Choose passwords that cannot be easily found by trying common words.
  6. Use Mnenomics
    • Make up a password that represents a phrase that is meaningful to only you.  For instance, the phrase "My second son's name is Edward" would produce a password of "Mssnie" by using the first letter of each word.  Easy for you to remember, but hard to guess.  Want to make it even more difficult?  Use the second letter of each word in that phrase.  (e.g. "Yeoasd")
  7. Safeguard Your Password
    • It's obvious you shouldn't write your password and keep it near your computer.  Nor should you store your passwords on a file in your computer, even if you give that file a non-obvious name.
    • If you need to write down your passwords, keep them in a safe or other secure location far from your computer or other records a potential hacker may search.
    • There are several good "password vaults" that let you keep your passwords in a secure and encrypted computer file stored on the Internet.  These may be worth researching if you have many passwords and have a difficult time keeping them straight.
  8. Don't Ask - Don't Tell
    • There is never a legitimate reason for anyone to ask you for a password to your Internet sites.  Never give your password to anyone for any reason.  (Never.)
    • Did you forget the reason above about never giving your password and in a moment of weakness actually gave your password to someone?  Change it now.  (Now.)
  9. Change your passwords from time to time
    • Some websites force you to change your passwords on a regular basis.  Others let you use the same password forever.  As long as you are following the other rules above, it's actually not critical that you change your password.  However, if you change computers, change jobs, change internet service providers or change significant others, it's wise to also change your critical passwords.
  10. Monitor Your Accounts
    • Miners Bank gives you several ways to monitor your accounts with us for unauthorized activity.  Use our monthly statements, telephone banking, online banking or Miners ALERTS to keep an eye on your account and transactions.  If you see something you don't recognize, call us immediately at 570-544-4787 so we can help you research further.  If it's after normal hours, you may still call 800-472-3272 so we can disable your debit card pending further research.

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