The importance of a strong, difficult-to-guess password is of vital importance to your online security, especially for your business and financial transactions. Many times, people will use their username, their first name, or even just the word ‘password’ for their password, which makes it easy for hackers or other malicious persons to have access to your account and sensitive information.
Here are some tips for creating a strong password:
Password length is important.
Size matters when it comes to passwords. A longer password is more secure than a short one, and it is always best to use the longest password you can comfortably memorise. For sites that have a limit on password length, try creating a password that utilises the maximum number of characters available.
Do not use common words found in the dictionary.
Passwords containing words found in the dictionary are easy targets for a dictionary attack, wherein a hacker will use every word and combination of words in the dictionary to try to force entry into your account. It is best to use random words, or if you’re really keen on using common ones, substitute some of the letters with special characters or numbers, as stated in more detail in the next point.
Use special characters, numbers, and capital letters for more security.
The security of a password that consists only of lowercase letters is much lower than a password that utilises special characters, numbers, and randomised capital letters. For example, if you use the password ‘financialfreedom’, you would be better served if you were to change it to ‘F1n$nc2al*Fr3eDoM!’. Special characters – such as @#$%^&*\|/!? – help make your password much more secure, especially when used together with numbers and capitalised letters.
Use keyboard patterns to create your password.
Perhaps all the random special characters and numbers are difficult for you to remember – what do you do then? A nice trick is to create a password using a pattern on your keyboard. For example, let’s say your first name begins with an M. You could create a pattern that starts from the letter Z and goes through the keyboard in an ‘M’-shaped pattern, which will give you the password: ‘zse4rfvgy7ujm’. Make it more secure by capitalising the first and last letters and adding a special character every time you reach the top and bottom of the keyboard – allowing you to end up with the secure password ‘Zse4!rfv*gy7$ujM&’, for example.
Secure passwords are much like strong locks, helping to protect your online identity and transactions. It is very important that any weak passwords are changed; utilise the tips above to create a strong password for the sake of your security.
To change your password, login to your VO and click on the ‘Change Password’ field as per the screenshot below.