Steve Weisman, for USA TODAY9:15 a.m. EDT October 5, 2014
National Cybersecurity Awareness month began auspiciously with the disclosure by JP Morgan Chase through a required SEC filing that the massive data breach it suffered this summer involved more than 76 million households and 7 million small businesses.
There is little as customers that we can do about the security of the companies andgovernment agencies with which we conduct business, but there are things we can do to protect ourselves from identity theft and the effects of massive data breaches which are now a part of modern day life. Living in a digital world requires some basic precautions and now is a good time to implement them in eight simple steps.
The first step is to change your password regularly, such as every six months. A good password has a mixture of capital letters, small letters, symbols and digits. Don’t use any word in the dictionary because hackers have computer programs that can guess your password in a matter of seconds. Instead use a phrase, such as IHate2UsePasswords!!. This is a very secure password. You should also have a separate and distinct password for each of your accounts. To make things simple, you can merely adapt your basic password by adding a couple of distinguishing letters for each account. For example, you could make this your Amazon password by adding the letters “Am” at the end of your basic password so it reads IHate2UsePasswords!!Am.