How to protect yourself online with a secure password

1 May 2019

3 min read

The importance of having a secure password

Having a secure password is the most important action you can take to safeguard your personal data held in online accounts. In this digital age, there are instances of password and data breaches frequently reported in the news and it can be a concerning time for consumers who aren’t sure whether they have been affected or not and what they might need to do if they have been impacted when their personal information has been accessed without their consent.

Tips on how to create a secure password

As your password is the gateway to your personal information online, it’s important to ensure it’s as secure as possible. In order to create a secure password, follow the simple steps outlined below: 

Aim for 12 characters - the shorter the password, the easier it is to decipher. In order to create a secure password, aim to make it 12 characters long. 

Avoid including personal information - when making the password, don’t use your personal information to make it memorable, such as your name or date of birth.

Use different characters - ensure that you use a mix of characters in your password, including uppercase and lowercase letters, numbers, and symbols. When using numbers, avoid logical substitutions, such as H3770 in place of HELLO.

Avoid sequential numbers and letters - try not to use sequential numbers in your password, such as 1234567, or sequential letters as they appear on your keyboard, such as qwertyuiop.

Avoid common combinations of words - don’t use common combinations of words such as blue door or tall tree. If you do use words in your password, ensure that they are not personal to you, and have no common association.

Use auto generated passwords where possible - in order to generate a password that ticks all the boxes listed above, you can use a free password generator. Secure password generators can enable you to specify the password length, and will contain uppercase and lowercase letters, numbers, and symbols.

Set up multi-factor authentication - multi-factor authentication, or two-factor authentication, is the process of setting up another step in the login process as well as your password, such as scanning your fingerprint on your phone, or getting a PIN code sent to your phone that you have to type. This adds a robust layer of security as it adds an additional layer of protection if your password gets compromised.

Once you’ve created a password, you can check how secure your password is by using a range of online tools and websites that give a rating of how secure a password is.

Password safety tips

  • Don’t write it down or share it with anyone
  • Do not send your password by email
  • Use different passwords for each of your online accounts and profiles
  • Don’t recycle
  • Change them regularly
  • An alternative to writing down passwords is to use an online password vault or safe

What to do if you think your online banking account has been compromised

If you are a Co-operative bank customer and suspect that your online banking password has been compromised, or if you notice any unusual activity on your account, we strongly advise that you call us immediately.

If your online banking account is compromised, or you become a victim of fraudulent activity, our Fraud Guarantee works to protect you and your money when you bank with us, whether that’s online, via the app, over the phone or in branch. To know how we protect you please refer to our security and fraud pages here.

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