3 tips on how to keep passwords safe, according to cyber security experts

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Creating stronger passwords can help protect you from hackers. (Photo: Getty)
Creating stronger passwords can help protect you from hackers. (Photo: Getty)

You're no doubt aware of the importance of keeping your passwords safe, but actually doing something about it is an entirely different thing. And, if password safety hasn't been a priority for you, it's important to change that ASAP.

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) recently reported that it received more than 2.1 million fraud reports in 2020, with consumers losing more than $3.3 billion to the crime in 2020, up from $1.8 billion in 2019. There were also nearly 1.4 million reports of identity theft, received through the FTC’s IdentityTheft.gov website — about twice as many as there were in 2019. Basically, hackers want your passwords, and they're getting better at obtaining them.

That's a problem because if a hacker happens to get a hold of your password, they can do everything from draining your bank account to opening new accounts under your name.

One quick and easy way to keep your passwords safe is by using a password manager like LastPass Premium. It can help you create strong — and more secure — passwords for your online accounts, while also protecting it from hackers.

Along with using a password manager, cyber security experts say there are a few additional steps you can take when it comes to password safety. Here's a breakdown on how to keep your passwords safe — because it's that important.

Try LastPass Premium, part of Yahoo Plus Secure, risk-free for 30 days.

Cyber security experts say the best way to protect your passwords is to memorize them instead of writing them down. (Photo: Getty)
Cyber security experts say the best way to protect your passwords is to memorize them instead of writing them down. (Photo: Getty)

How to keep your passwords safe

There are a few things you can do to keep your passwords safe, but being able to implement all of these increases the odds yours will stay protected.

Safe passwords tip #1: Memorize it

Cyber security experts agree that this is the safest way to keep your password secure. "Keep your most sensitive passwords in your head. Do not write them down," Joseph Steinberg, cyber security and emerging technologies advisor, tells Yahoo Life.

Mikko Laaksonen, chief executive officer of Responsible Cyber, agrees. "The best place to keep a password is in your head," he tells Yahoo Life. But Laaksonen admits that can be tricky. "This may not always be feasible in all situations and given the amount of passwords we all have today," he says.

Safe passwords tip #2: Use a password manager

As Steinberg and Laaksonen point out, it can be tough to remember all of your passwords — especially if you have several strong passwords. (A strong password will have different, unrelated words, numbers and characters like "desk!8sarah!3lake," Steinberg says.)

Steinberg recommends keeping your "most sensitive" passwords in your head, such as the password for your bank account or work email. But, he says, a password manager can handle your other passwords and even help you create stronger, more unique ones for your other accounts. (Worth noting: The FTC also recommends using a password manager.)

A password manager like LastPass Premium doesn't just generate passwords — it can remember them for you, so logging into your accounts is easier.

Try LastPass Premium, part of Yahoo Plus Secure, risk-free for 30 days.

An easy way to keep passwords safe is by using a password manager. (Photo: Getty)
An easy way to keep passwords safe is by using a password manager. (Photo: Getty)

Safe passwords tip #3: Put additional security measures in place

Many accounts offer additional protection mechanisms, such as multi-factor authentication. In case you're not familiar with it, multi-factor authentication is a method that requires you to provide two or more factors to verify that you are who you say you are in order to get into your accounts. A common example is having you enter your password, followed by answering a security question you've already completed, such as the first concert you ever attended.

Laaksonen suggests "always" trying to use additional protection mechanisms when they're offered. "Try to avoid relying purely on passwords alone," he says. For maximum protection, Laaksonen recommends using a password manager, coupled with multi-factor authentication.

If you can put all of these measures in place, you'll greatly boost the odds that your passwords will stay safe and protected.

Try LastPass Premium, part of Yahoo Plus Secure, risk-free for 30 days.

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