Your passwords are supposed to keep you safe online, so you might be shocked to learn that one of your accounts has been hacked. Hopefully, it’s just your Netflix account, and not a bank or business account. But if this has happened to you, it’s important to learn the how and why. Then you can take steps to keep your business accounts safe, along with your personal ones.

Did you use a common word? You would be surprised to learn how many otherwise capable adults use “password” as their password! It’s actually what led to the infamous leaks of John Podesta’s emails. Other common mistakes are using children or pet names. We hate to tell you this, but anyone can gather that information by monitoring your social media posts.

And no, adding a symbol or sequential numbers to the end of the password won’t help much. “Password123” is about as commonly used as “password”, and almost as easy to guess.

Finally, remember when you’re tempted to use common words that hackers employ password-cracking software. This software tries numerous passwords until it guesses the right one, so all common words are out. A good, secure password will consist of an unpredictable (random) series of letters, numbers, and symbols.

Did you fall for a phishing scam? Did you receive an email asking you to log into an account? Perhaps it was accompanied by a dire warning, such as a missed payment or a risk of losing important data. If you followed the link in a bogus email, you might have entered your login information on a fake page. Hackers can make these look very real, but their actual purpose is to capture your login information rather than allowing you access to an account. Always open a new window and proceed to log into known websites, rather than following links in emails.

Did you use the same password for all of your online accounts? Even if you create a great, secure password, the cat is out of the bag once it is stolen. A smart hacker will try it on all of your other accounts, and they will succeed in hacking into them if you’ve used the same password everywhere. Make sure you’re using an original password for each account.

And remember, even the most secure passwords should be changed twice per year. For more information on keeping yourself and your business safe online, call us at 888-RING-MY-TECH to learn about the latest security solutions.