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Cybercrime is rising in Canada, affecting individuals, families and businesses alike. That’s the bad news. The good news is that being cyber safe doesn’t take a lot of work — instead, it’s a matter of knowing what to do to keep hackers and scammers out of your systems and accounts.
Here’s a little exercise: Count how many unique passwords you have for your various online accounts. You’re not alone if you have only a few (or just one)! In fact, 55 per cent of Canadians reuse passwords across accounts.
Using the same password in multiple locations isn’t the best strategy to keep your personal data secure from hackers.
Did you know 81 per cent of hacking-related breaches used stolen and/or weak passwords? While that’s a pretty staggering number, it can be easily remedied by making a couple of password changes to help reduce your chances of being part of that statistic.
Here are 3 easy password tips to help you stay cyber safe:
1. Practice password diversity
Use different passwords (or passphrases, see below) for each account — especially when logging into sites that access personal or financial data.
2. Use a passphrase instead of a password
A passphrase is a collection of random words thrown together in a bizarre sentence — like DelayElephantBuy. Who’s going to guess that? To take it one step further, replace some letters with numbers or special characters. DelayElephantBuy can become De!@yE!eph@nt8uy.
3. Consider a password manager
Password managers generate strong, random passwords and remember them for you, so you don’t have to. Your encrypted password database can then be accessed with just one master password or passphrase, which means you’ll just have to remember one.
Looking for more great tips? Our Cyber Security Playbook, The Vault, is packed with great tips for making your passwords stronger and harder to crack. And it has more helpful steps and information to boost your cyber skills.
Diane Amato is a Toronto-based freelance writer who loves to talk about finances, travel and technology.
This article is intended as general information only and is not to be relied upon as constituting legal, financial or other professional advice. A professional advisor should be consulted regarding your specific situation. Information presented is believed to be factual and up-to-date but we do not guarantee its accuracy and it should not be regarded as a complete analysis of the subjects discussed. All expressions of opinion reflect the judgment of the authors as of the date of publication and are subject to change. No endorsement of any third parties or their advice, opinions, information, products or services is expressly given or implied by Royal Bank of Canada or any of its affiliates.