“Your password has expired. Please change it as soon as possible!” This is a necessary alert, but it can seem daunting to set up effective and unique passwords for various online accounts.

On top of setting these hard passwords, remembering them can sometimes be even harder – but that’s the point! As cyber criminals and hackers become increasingly savvy and the high-profile hacks and thefts of consumer information continue to grow, keeping password protection top of mind is extremely important.

Here are five common password mistakes to avoid:

  • Mistake #1 – Writing your password on a sticky note and placing it in a visible location, such as on your desk.

    • You always want to keep your passwords in a secure place, and out of plain view. Writing your passwords on a note and putting it on your desk or another visible location is never a great idea. Also, it may seem convenient to store passwords in your phone’s “notes,” but that is not a secure location either. Keep a physical list of your passwords in a secure place, such as a locked filing cabinet drawer.
  • Mistake #2 – You share your passwords over email or on the phone.

    • First Southern National Bank and most legitimate organizations will never ask for your password over email or phone. If a business or organization is doing this, be wary of sharing your information.
  • Mistake #3 – You use common words or phrases and do not use characters, numbers or symbols in your passwords.

    • While most online accounts already require the use of characters, numbers or symbols, make sure you are creating passwords that have at least eight characters and include numbers and symbols (like !@#$%^&*) .
      • An effective option is to create a long password out of a personal and easy-to-remember phrase, then add in special characters.
      • Choose two or three words to create a combination word. “Purple” and “picnic” becomes PPuircpnliec. Add in a few numbers or special characters for an even stronger password!
  • Mistake #4 – You use the same password for all your online accounts.

    • Although remembering numerous passwords can be difficult, choosing security over convenience increases account protection. If you have a hard time keeping the passwords separate, you can you the account name as a base. EX: F@ceb0ok_ PPuircpnliec
  • Mistake #5 – You use your personal information, your login name or adjacent keys on the keyboard (like qwerty) as passwords.

    • Using passwords that contain personal information about you is another way for your online identity to be compromised. Experts recommend staying away from children’s names, birthdays, favorite football teams, pet names, etc. An exception to this is if you utilize these details in combination with phrases, numbers and symbols.

How many of these common password mistakes are you personally guilty of?

Learn how to easily change your password in the FSNB mobile app here.