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Financial Education

Keep Passwords Strong, Secret, and Safe

Here are some helpful tips to create your new password – and to keep your account information safe:

Keep your computer and mobile devices’ content secure by maintaining strong passwords, making them secret, and keeping track of them. A compromised password could lead to identity theft or other dire consequences. A criminal could use your information to apply for credit cards or mortgages, or to make online purchases or other transactions.

The first rule of thumb for creating strong passwords is to use a different password for each of your accounts. It may be easier to keep track of just one password, but if a crook discovers that one password, he or she can access all of your accounts.

The second key to a robust password is to make it lengthy. At a minimum, your passwords should be eight digits long, and 14 digits or more is ideal. Using the greatest variety of characters possible in your passwords—letters, numbers, symbols—makes them harder to guess or uncover with malicious software.

After creating your password, you can test its strength with one of the “password checkers” available online such as Microsoft’s Password checker and The Password Meter. Use your search engine to locate these and others. If your password tests as weak, make it more complex.

Some password don’ts include:

  • Using personal information such as family names, birthdays, or your address.
  • Using sequences or repeated numbers, like abcd, 1234, or 9999.
  • Using any words listed in a dictionary—they’re easy for scammers to guess.

Don’t use a password.

Just kidding. You can use passwords, but passphrases are much more secure.   In recent years, we have successfully trained everyone to use passwords that are hard for humans to remember, but easy for computers to guess.

For example:  Tr0ub4dor&3. This looks like a complex password, and it is. Passwords should be letters, numbers, and special characters that are not found in the dictionary.   I.e., 45%$skdj.

Now, a passphrase will take hacker’s software a lot longer to break.  For instance,  “I like to shop”.  Depending on the specifications for the password you have to setup, you may need a number in there. The spaces between the words are special characters.

Mature couple working in home office

To help you keep track

of your passwords, write them down and store the list where others won’t find it, but in a place you’ll remember. Don’t share your passwords with others—children, particularly, may unwittingly pass them on to others. And don’t enter them into computers in public places—these machines may have malicious software that can capture your keystrokes for a criminal’s use. Only use them on secured wifi you are familiar with, not in a public place. If you must, disconnect from the merchant’s wifi and use LTE or 4G from your mobile carrier.

If a password is compromised,

monitor all information it protects for suspicious activity. If you see such activity, notify the authorities and contact Member Services at SIU Credit Union for help with related financial matters. But remember, the stronger your passwords, the less likely this is to happen.

Try online banking – you’ll love it!

To learn more about our online banking app, click here: Apps are available in Play Store or App Store.

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