Protecting Your Data Online Using Strong Passwords and Two-Factor Authentication: A Guide

Protecting Your Data Online Using Strong Passwords and Two-Factor Authentication: A Guide

Protecting Your Data Online Using Strong Passwords and Two-Factor Authentication: A Guide

There's a growing need for better online security, with strong passwords and two-factor authentication. As more of our daily life moves online, more of our personal information is also being stored on the web, along with access details for our personal bank accounts and confidential work data. With cyberattacks on the rise, all of this information needs to be protected from unauthorized access by hackers.

Passwords and Their Problems

One of the oldest and simplest access control systems is a password. Assuming a hacker doesn’t know your password, the system is reliable and information is secure.

Unfortunately, though, passwords have many problems:

  • A password that is short, or contains common words, maybe easy for you to remember, but is generally considered weak and unreliable.
  • A password that is long and contains random upper- and lower-case letters, as well as numbers and special characters, may be strong and hard for hackers to crack but also difficult to remember.
  • Complex passwords tend to be written down on paper or in a text file, or reused for different services. These files can easily fall into the hands of hackers. And if you reuse passwords, a successful hack of one of your accounts can easily lead hackers to all of your other accounts. 

For example, let’s say you use the same 16-character random password for your bank account and for your gardening email group. If the group’s email software was implemented poorly and hasn’t been updated for five years, your emails about planting season aren’t the only information that’s at risk. If hackers gain access to your group email account, they can now also access your money.

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