There are lots of things you can do to protect your online accounts from threats such as hacking, phishing and malware.
You can take proactive steps to make your personal information more secure. Choosing strong passwords and using 2-step verification are good examples.
You can also make sure you know what to do if the worst happens and your security is compromised.
Creating a strong, unique password is one of the most important things you can do to protect your online accounts.
Here are some tips to help you create a password that is as secure as possible:
- Choose a unique password – don’t just modify an old one
- The longer the better – aim for at least 8 characters
- Try to use a mix of uppercase and lowercase letters, numbers and symbols
- Avoid personal information and common/easy to guess words, like Password1234
- Avoid proper names and places, like MiguelMadrid or AlbertoGoogle
- Use a series of words you won’t forget but others won’t guess
- Use a security extension like Password Checkup to make sure your current passwords are secure and receive alerts if a password is compromised, or Have I been pwned? to check if your account has been hacked.
Protecting your passwords
You may have a number of different passwords across your accounts, so it is important to keep them all safe. Here are some suggestions about how to do this:
- Choose passwords you can remember so you don’t need to write them down. It is never a good idea to store passwords in a wallet, phonebook or near your computer.
- Use a password manager if you have difficulty remembering usernames and passwords. Chrome has its own built-in Password Manager and there are others, such as Dashlane and LastPass, that support all browsers and operating
- Keep your password to yourself – don’t share it with others.
- Use different passwords for different accounts, devices and social networks.
- Change your passwords regularly – we recommend every 3–4 months.
- Set up your account recovery options and keep them up to date.
- Make sure you change your passwords if you think an account has been hacked.
Using 2-step verification adds an extra layer of security to your account. Even if someone steals your password, they will still have to get through a second security check, so it’s harder for them to pretend to be you.
Find out how to activate 2-step verification on your account(s):
- Google: more information here.
- Microsoft: more information here.
- Apple: more information here.
- Facebook: more information here.
- Twitter: more information here.
- WhatsApp: more information here.
- Instagram: more information here.
Don’t forget to keep your account recovery options up to date, too. Adding your phone number and email address means you can recover your account if you are ever locked out.