October is National Cyber Security Awareness Month, which I discovered logging in to my account this morning at Fidelity Investments. I thought you’d like to read their recommendations. The easiest part of protecting yourself is choosing a rugged, unique password. By rugged I mean a password that isn’t something easily guessed by a hacker’s word-list. Examples of easily guessed passwords that are used often are things like “password,” “1234,” “default,” or “1111.” Read more below from Fidelity about protecting your accounts with a strong password.
Do not reuse passwords
Make sure you use strong, unique passwords for all of your online accounts. Reusing a single password for multiple websites is never a good idea. If hackers were to obtain your password, the first thing they will do is check whether or not that password works for other websites. It’s also a good idea to periodically change your passwords.
Do not share your passwords
Fidelity will never ask you for your password. If you receive an email asking for your login credentials, do not respond as it is not from an authorized Fidelity representative. Fidelity representatives will never have knowledge of your encrypted password.
Don’t give out your passwords to anyone you don’t absolutely trust, including family members. Learn about the different ways you can share account access with others
Features of a strong password
The strongest passwords are long and employ a mix of numbers, upper and lower case letters, and special characters. Your password for your Fidelity account can be as long as 20 characters, so feel free to be creative.
What to avoid when creating a password
Your password shouldn’t contain any personal or easily attainable information, such as your name, your birthday, Social Security number, or wedding anniversary. In addition, don’t use a component of your username in your password.
When to change your Fidelity password
You should immediately change your password if you:
- have been reusing the same password for multiple online sites
- have reason to believe your password has been stolen
- have shared your password with someone
- think someone may have seen you typing your password
- think you might have given your password to a phishing website
- think your current password could be stronger
Regardless of why you are changing your password, make sure that you choose a new password unrelated to the old one and don’t reuse the password from another account.