How to Create Strong, Unique Passwords (that You'll Remember)
For Your Online Accounts with Sturgis Bank, a Michigan Community Bank
It’s true – just about every website that maintains one of your accounts requires a password. If you're active online with Amazon or Apple, you'll need a password. You sign in to your email accounts with a passcode. Want to access your Netflix, Pandora, and Spotify accounts? You'll need more passwords. And you may need to change passwords annually or every six months on some accounts. It's tough to remember every passcode and risky to write them down.
Why a Strong, Unique Passcode Helps Protect Your Accounts
Most companies offering online accounts, including Sturgis Bank, use a variety of security protocols and privacy policies to protect your accounts and identity. But you’re the first line of defense against cybercriminals.
- If you use the same passcode for multiple accounts, you're making it easy for a thief who 'breaks in' to one of your accounts to capture a lot of your data.
- The criminal takes your email and the newly discovered password and tries it across any other account associated with your name or email. They will target work, social media, and bank accounts.
You will reduce the risk of having your financial information compromised by using strong, unique passwords for all your online accounts.
Methods for Crafting Powerful, Memorable Passwords
The team at Sturgis Bank gathered several suggestions to help you create hard-to-crack passcodes that you’ll remember!
- Follow Best Practice Guidelines for Passcodes. If you use the same basic steps for all your passwords, you’ll develop good habits.
- Choose at least 10 elements for each password, including upper-and-lower case letters, numbers, and characters such as exclamation points, commas, or parentheses.
- Avoid information easily associated with you like your address, birthday, or phone number.
- Stay away from common dictionary words. We would all remember ‘PasSc0De1!’ but cybercriminals likely have variations of this word at the top of their list to try.
- Find a Phrase with Meaning to You, then transform it into a ‘best practice’ password.
- Hail! Hail to Michigan becomes something like Hai1!hAil2MI.
- Great Lakes State in passcode form looks like this: Gr8LaKe$$t@tE.
- ‘Later Alligator?’ shifts to L8rA11ig@tr?
- Customize Passwords to Align with Specific Accounts. With this approach, your passcodes can have similar elements that are easy to remember but are unique for each account.
- Abt2Uz_$$StrGs stands for ‘About to Use Bank Account at Sturgis.’
- UrMIB@nK_Gr8:] means Your Michigan Bank is Great, with another smiling emoticon.
- Consider Using Passphrases. A Passphrase is a sentence-like string of words used for authentication that is longer than a traditional password, easy to remember and difficult to crack. Typical passwords range from 8-16 characters on average while passphrases can reach up to 100 characters in length. Passphrases are often easier to remember than passwords. A generic passphrase, such as “The big red Fox!” can be more difficult to crack than more complex passwords.
- Buy Password Manager Software. A straightforward approach to password creation is to invest in software that generates strong, unique passwords. Password Manager apps store all your passcodes in a secure online 'vault’ that you access using multiple levels of authentication. Some software plans also allow you to store other personal data like credit card accounts or mailing addresses. Here’s a list of Password Manager programs to consider.
When you become creative and consistent with your passcode strategy, you will rest easier knowing your accounts are less likely to be hacked. And you’ll face fewer struggles trying to remember your passwords!
If you have questions about security protocols at Sturgis Bank or need additional tips about creating strong, unique passcodes, contact our team. We <3 making banking more manageable for you!