How to Create a Strong Password to Protect Your Online Accounts

September 28, 2023 3 mins

To keep your Patelco accounts secure, it’s important to create a strong password to make it harder for hackers to access your personal and financial information. What’s a strong password? Well, it’s not your date of birth, your phone number or “password123.” A good password should be hard to guess and shouldn’t contain personal information. These helpful tips can help you protect your online accounts and avoid password mistakes.

How to create a strong password

A strong password helps you keep your personal information safe, prevents others from accessing your accounts, and protects personal content like your email, files, and more.

Most websites and apps have password requirements. For instance, at Patelco, we require your password to contain:

  • at least 12 characters (and up to 30 for a super strong password)
  • 1 or more lowercase letters
  • 1 or more uppercase letters
  • 1 or more numbers
  • 1 or more special characters ! @ # $ % ^ & * + = / \ _

To make your password more secure, follow these additional tips:

Make your password unique. Use a different password for each of your accounts. If your password is leaked in a data breach, hackers could use it to access your money, your email, or your address — or even steal your identity.

Make your password longer. Longer equals stronger. Experts recommend creating a password or passphrase that is at least 12 characters long. If that seems challenging, some of these ideas might help:

  • A password manager (learn more below)
  • A memorable quote from a movie or speech
  • A song lyric
  • A line from a book
  • A series of words that have meaning to you
  • An abbreviation: Your password can consist of the first letter of each word in a sentence or even a nursery rhyme. For instance, “J&Jwuth2fapow” for “Jack and Jill went up the hill to fetch a pail or water.” Replacing letters with numbers or characters will make the password even harder to crack.

Don’t use personal information. Avoid passwords that someone who knows you — or someone looking at your social media profile — could easily guess. Stay away from:

  • your nickname or initials
  • your child or pet’s name
  • important birthdays, anniversaries or dates
  • the name of your street
  • numbers from your address
  • your phone number

Avoid common words or phrases. If your password includes the word “password,” it’s time for a new one. Similarly, you should steer clear of sequences like “abcd” or “1234” and patterns like “121212” or “qwerty.”

Strong password examples

A strong password is long and difficult for someone to guess. It might even be too complicated to remember without a password manager. Here are some examples of strong passwords — but don’t use these yourself!

  • q*J38$hu^1Gx
  • k@rMa15@catpurrin6inmylAp
  • $s40wM3them0ney!
  • 2th1n30WNselfBtru3*
  • gArb@g3Day1s2$day

They’re complex passwords because they have more than 12 characters or longer, they are hard to guess, and they contain a mix of uppercase and lowercase letters, numbers, and symbols.

quote

Use a different password for each of your accounts. If your password is leaked in a data breach, hackers could use it to access your money, your email, or your address — or even steal your identity.”

Use a password manager

Password management tools can generate strong passwords that are harder to hack. Password managers are a great tool for password fatigue as well – so you don’t have to remember so many passwords. Look for one that has a good reputation and positive reviews. Your browser (such as Chrome or Edge) or operating system (such as iOS or Android) may also create passwords for you.

You can put them on your phone, your computer, and your tablet. If you go this route, don’t share your device with other users and keep the software up to date. You may also want to pick one that can be used on all your specific devices, so include that factor when you’re researching.

Common password mistakes

  • Using a weak password, such as “password123”
  • Re-using the same password on an account
  • Using the same password on different accounts
  • Keeping the original password on the account, especially after a data breach.

Keeping your passwords secure

Complex passwords are harder to remember, so it’s important to keep them safe. If you write down your passwords, don’t leave them on your desk or computer. Store them in a locked place.

Even better, use a password manager to save your passwords. As noted above, look for a reputable service that has positive reviews and keep your software up to date.

Like many other online services, Patelco Online™ supports two-factor authentication (2FA) for additional security. This type of verification requires you to enter a unique code before you can access your account. You can choose to receive the code by phone call, SMS/text message or an authenticator app.

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