Do you recognize these passwords?

Recent news about online scams and security breaches should tell you that cybersecurity isn’t something to take lightly. With that said, we plan to make light of a few of the worst passwords of 2014 before returning to the serious nature of cybersecurity later in this post.

Mashable is a news website “for the connected generation” that recently posted their list of worst passwords for 2014. You can view the entire Top 25 here, but what follows are five of our “favorites” along with their overall rank on Mashable’s list:

Password (2nd) – If I were a wannabe hacker, I’m guessing the first password I would try would be “password.”
Baseball (8th) – America’s pastime makes its inaugural appearance on the list with a strong 8th place showing.
Monkey (12th) – The highest ranking animal (unless you count the dragon) moves up five places from last year.
Superman (21st) – The highest rated superhero and clearly more powerful than a locomotive, which didn’t make this list.
Trustno1 (25th) – If you’re using this password, maybe you shouldn’t be trusting yourself to come up with secure passwords.

All kidding aside, you should take cybersecurity very seriously and definitely think about changing any of your passwords that happen to be on the aforementioned list. In order to help you increase your cybersecurity vigilance when it comes to passwords, here are a few important reminders:

1) Use strong passwords. – You should all know this by now, but judging from the list above many of us have varying definitions of “strong.” Mix uppercase and lowercase letters, as well as numbers and symbols (%, $, &, etc.) if the website allows them. You could even incorporate Pig Latin if you so desire.
2) Don’t enter your password through a link. – If you get an email asking you to log into your account, rather than clicking on the link, it’s best to go directly to that website by typing in the web address in your browser, or by using a bookmark/shortcut you have created for that website that you know is correct.
3) Don’t use the same password on Facebook that you use in other places on the web. – Even if the password is a strong one, it’s best not to use the same password across many websites and accounts. If one is hacked, then it becomes much more likely others will be. Change up your passwords.
4) Don’t store your password list on a computer hard drive.  You shouldn’t keep a list of your passwords posted next to your computer or easily accessible on your computer either. A remedy to this is found in #5.
5) Consider using a password keeper on your computer and mobile device. Keeper, Dashlane, and LastPass are just three options available. Most of the better options aren’t free, but the cost generally ranges from $10-$25 per year.

This is the first of what will be a series of articles with the goal of helping you avoid online fraud, identity theft, and other cyber threats. While we are by no means experts on cybersecurity, many threats attempt to extract money from unwitting victims. Money and its management are two things we happen to know a little something about.

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Since 1995, Pittenger & Anderson has guided individuals and families going through money-in-motion events. We are a fee-only Registered Investment Advisor and a full-time fiduciary providing investment management, financial planning, and complimentary services to 700+ clients in over 30 U.S. states.

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