The most important thing you can do to protect your identity and your most valuable information is to have a strong password and keep it updated across all the sites you use. Sadly, plenty of us don’t.

For example, here’s a list of the 25 most common passwords, published by the Australian Government’s Stay Safe Online initiative.

  1. 123456
  2. password
  3. 12345
  4. 12345678
  5. football
  6. qwerty
  7. 1234567890
  8. 1234567
  9. princess
  10. 1234
  11. login
  12. welcome
  13. solo
  14. abc123
  15. admin
  16. 121212
  17. flower
  18. passw0rd
  19. dragon
  20. sunshine
  21. master
  22. hottie
  23. loveme
  24. zaq1zaq1
  25. password1

If any one of those is yours then you’re an idiot. These passwords are easily hackable and you are vulnerable.

Passwords which are a pattern of numbers, a dictionary word or a common combination of letters and numbers will be the first to be attempted if anyone is trying to access your account.

Creating a strong password.

They recommendations today around creating a strong password have evolved and can differ from “expert” to “expert”, so let me tell you my basic rules.

Come up with a couple of random words, look around you now and name three items.

  • Bottle
  • Torch
  • Speaker

Now these three words are great because they are firstly not used commonly together.

Now combine them. bottletorchspeaker.

Next capitalise some random letters. BoTtletorChspeaKer.

Then add a charachter and numbers. BoTtletor%Chspea23Ker

That looks ridiculous. You’ll never remember it. Actually, that’s not true. After just a few goes you’ll find this is relatively easy. And because of the complexity and the length, it’s a super strong password.

Using multiple passwords

The best advice is use a different password everywhere. Great, but come on, who has the time for that.

So my recommendation is that if you can’t then at the very least have a unique password for Banking, one for Email and then one or more for other general sites.

This means it’s less likely you’ll have your accounts hijacked (email access is almost required for that), and that your money is safe.

Two Step Authentication

Finally, it’s an extra step (thus the name) but it’s a huge leap in security if you use Two Step Authentication – otherwise known as Two Factor Authentication (2FA).

Two Step Authentication requires your mobile number to be registered, and each time you login from a new device, the service will accept your password, then send an SMS with a unique new password to you. This means even if someone gets your password, they’ve also got to physically have your phone too.

Safety and Security are difficult areas – if you’ve got a question, call Trevor Long on Talking Lifestyle, Weeknights 8pm Sydney & Melbourne, 7pm Brisbane and 5pm Perth on 13 12 83.