Your password is the only defense to securing your online accounts. Online applications and websites are taking security more seriously. They have been requiring challenging character combinations and sometimes even require a second form of authentication, sending you a text message number or email link, if they see you logging in from a new location. These are welcomed steps in the right direction, but there is more you can do to ensure your online accounts are secure.

A long passphrase is better than a short complex password

An increasingly popular thought is that a 16 character phrase, or word combination, is stronger than a random set of 8 letters, numbers, and symbols. It may be surprising that “EdwinComputerBasicsIs#1” is a stronger password than “Ex8j&%zq,” and it’s easier to remember too.

More: The Man Who Wrote Those Password Rules Has a New Tip: N3v$r M1^d!

Different passwords for each account

Once an online account is hacked it doesn’t matter how strong the password is if you use the same password for all your accounts. If this happens, all of your accounts with the same password become vulnerable.

A password manager makes it all easy

Long and different passwords for each account are all well and good, but managing them is a nightmare, especially when we have so many online accounts to deal with. Keeping your passwords in a Rolodex or an offline spreadsheet while safe from hackers, are vulnerable to people who have access to your home or workplace. The security of your browser’s password autofill is also debatable.

A password manager like LastPass, 1Password, or Keychain (Mac) takes some time to set up but allows you a more easy and secure way to organize your passwords. Do some research to find the option that works best for you. You shouldn’t have to pay much, if at all, for a decent personal password manager.

Two-Factor Authentication

We have discussed two-factor authentication before. With two-factor authentication enabled on your most important accounts, such as your bank and primary email account, even if a hacker gains your password, they wouldn’t be able to access your account without an additional security check, like an email link, or a set of numbers sent to your phone via text message. Learn more about two-factor authentication here.

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