Use strong passwords

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Passwords are your keys online. They are how you identify yourself on various websites and services. Strong passwords and smart usage will get you far.

To protect the information on your digital devices, and to protect your e-mail, cloud service, social network, and other accounts, you should always use strong passwords. Some providers have their own rules for how passwords need to be constructed. If there are no specific rules, you should still make sure to use a high security password.

Do all passwords have to be equally strong?

Regardless of whether you use your password for a bank service or an e-mail account, you should consider what would happen if the password ends up in the wrong hands. If your password is revealed to the wrong people, this can affect the security of other systems if you use the same password for more than one service. It is especially important to have a secure, unique password for your e-mail accounts. If someone can access your e-mail, they can easily find more passwords sent by e-mail, and then access more services.

Manage your passwords well

Even strong passwords can become compromised if they are not handled correctly. A password falling into the wrong hands can cause major damage. Most web browsers have a function to remember the passwords you enter. Make a habit of not saving passwords in your browsers. Saving them in the browser lets others with access to your computer log in to services where you have saved the password. Most browsers allow you to delete saved passwords. (Tools/clear browsing history/delete passwords in the menu).

Use two-factor authentication and a password manager

Passwords which get revealed to unauthorised individuals can be used without you knowing. To make sure that you are the one entering your password, you can sometimes also require a one-time code. This is known as two-factor authentication. The service will ask you for one-time codes sent by text message or e-mail to preregistered addresses, or the code will be created in a specific app on your phone. This is not offered by all services, but it is recommended that you utilise it wherever possible.

You can also use a password manager to handle all your passwords. This is usually an app in your phone, or piece of software on your computer, where you store your passwords. The app and its contents are protected by a special password which should be very strong. Password managers can also help you create strong passwords.

Tips

  • Create a strong password by combining random words with numbers, special characters, and uppercase and lowercase letters. The password should be at least 12 characters long. For example ”!karta4TYPur”.
  • Use different passwords for different services. It is especially important to use a unique password for your e-mail. 
  • Change your password if you suspect that someone else knows it.
  • Do not choose passwords which relate to you as a person, for example your car’s registration number or your children’s personal ID numbers.
  • Avoid common words such as “summer” or common characters combinations such as “qwerty”.
  • Use a password manager if you need to keep track of a lot of passwords.
  • Do not share your codes or passwords with anyone.
  • Use two-factor authentication when possible.
  • Memorise your passwords, put them in a rhyme.

Did you find this information helpful?

Responsible: Swedish Agency for Economic and Regional Growth

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