Tech Talk: Helping Seniors Establish Secure Online Passwords

By August 4, 2014Aging in Place

Passwords have become necessary for just about everything on the Internet. When seniors login to sites like Facebook, email and social media accounts, they are granted access only after entering a personal password. In a world full of swindlers and computer hackers, seniors should make it a point to develop passwords that are not easy for criminals to crack.

Believe it or not, the most commonly used online password is “123456,” followed by “12345.” In fact, almost one million people use passwords comprised of nothing more than five consecutive numbers. To err on the side of caution, seniors are encouraged not to use these types of passwords, as they make it easy for hackers to gain access to personal accounts.

So, how can seniors come up with (and keep) a secure online password? Check out the following tips:

  • First and foremost, seniors should use a password that’s easy to remember. You’ll want to develop a password that is easily recalled by seniors, but hard for others to guess. Try using a favorite quote or using one short sentence as a password.
  • Alter your password on a regular basis. This is an especially important for seniors who do online banking or use accounts that contain financial information.
  • Never use the same password for multiple accounts. While it can be awfully tempting to make signing in faster by using one password for every account, it’s never a good idea. If one hacker breaks your password, they (theoretically) have access to all your other personal profiles.
  • Never use the “password remember” feature on your computer. Just like using one password for multiple accounts is frowned upon, the “password remember” feature is not secure.
  • These days, most accounts have a designated password recovery feature. If you forget a password, the system will ask a predetermined question. When answered correctly, a new password will be emailed to you. Seniors should avoid using obvious answers to the password recovery system questions. Use answers that are easy for you to remember, but difficult for hackers to guess.

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