Keeping Your Home Computer Safe and Secure
Ellerbe Telephone and Internet is Rockingham, Ellerbe and surrounding areas in North Carolina’s premiere residential and business Internet service provider and wants to help you keep your home computer safe and secure from viruses and hackers that may be threatening your personal information. This is part 4 of our 5 part series on simple things you can do to keep you and the private materials on your computer safe from an attack. We’re bringing you more ways to stay safe and secure online. So far, we’ve covered antivirus protection, antispyware software, and firewalls and updates. This time, we’re bringing up a very sore point – password security!
Pretty much everything you do online will require a password. Between email, Facebook, banking, bill paying, shopping, and everything else, it can be tempting to just use the same password for everything. But what if just one of those accounts is compromised? Say your Facebook account gets hacked; that account on its own is not that big a deal, but if you use the same password for your banking, bill paying, and insurance, you could be looking at losing money, if not full-blown identity theft.
Now that you’re scared, here’s the good news. You don’t have to have a separate password for every single thing you do online. You can stick to two or three strong passwords, and organize them by type of account. You might have one password for vital information (banking, bills, insurance, etc.), another for shopping accounts (Amazon, Etsy, etc.), and another for those accounts that don’t involve any financial or personal information (online communities, games, etc.). Another option is to start with one strong password, and add an abbreviation to the end for each site (for example, add “az” for Amazon, “fb” for Facebook, “em” for email, etc.).
The key point here is that your passwords must be strong. But what exactly does that mean? A strong password is one that is not easily cracked by a computer program that is designed to figure out passwords. At minimum, you’ll want at least eight characters, but longer is better. Include at least one capital letter, one numeral, and a special character like an exclamation point, @ symbol, colon, or pound sign. Special characters make passwords especially strong, but be aware that some sites will only allow certain special characters in passwords, so if you’re using a more obscure character, it might not be accepted.
Of course, the only way to make absolutely sure that your password or other information stays completely private is to keep it in your own head, but by putting some thought in your passwords and how you use them, you can safely enjoy all the convenience the web has to offer.
Ellerbe Telephone and Internet provides the fastest and most reliable Internet service to Ellerbe, Rockingham and surrounding areas in North Carolina. Stay tuned; our next post will help you with safe surfing habits!