BOARDMAN, Ohio (WKBN) – Thursday is World Password Day. It may seem silly, but if you have any online account with personal information, it’s important to keep password security in mind.
Identity theft hit an all-time high in 2016. Avan Odom of Warren had his identity stolen five years ago. Now he changes his passwords at least a couple of times in a six-month span.
“That was the eye-opener. Before then, I was very reluctant on changing passwords. I just trusted that I was safe,” Odom said. “You never know who might be looking over your shoulder.”
David Holliday with Best Buy’s Geek Squad says keeping those passwords fresh is key. He said the more complicated the better. He says not to use birthdays or pet names because those are easy to figure out. He recommends using passphrases with numbers and symbols instead of just a password.
“It keeps hackers from guessing them quite as easily. You can even use symbols in place of some letters to make it easier to remember,” Holliday said. “Always go with different passwords for every site. If one gets guessed, they have access to everything.”
As for Odom, being a victim of identity theft has kept him on edge. He says he is always wondering when he may fall victim to a hacker.
“Leary, never totally comfortable realizing hackers are out there,” Odom said.
According to the online tech website CNET, passwords should be about 16 characters and contain a combination of numbers and symbols. The password should be free of dictionary words, usernames, pronouns, IDs, and any other predefined number or letter sequence.
CNET uses an example of turning a phrase like “I hope the Giants will win the World Series in 2016! into a password by taking the first letter of each word and all the numbers and symbols to create a new password: ihtGwwtWSi2016!