October is National Cyber Security Awareness Month! Believe it or not, the internet touches almost all aspects of your daily life, so it’s important to stay aware of your online presence. To help increase your online safety, check out some of these tips from the Department of Homeland Security on how to create a stronger and better password.

  • Make your password eight characters or longer. You should also have a combination of letters, numbers, and symbols. The DHS recommends using a long passphrase like the title of the last book you read, with some punctuation and capitalization mixed in.
  • Don’t make your passwords easy to guess. Don’t use personal information, such as your name, family names, or pets’ names as your password. This information is easily found via social media, making it much easier for cybercriminals to hack your accounts.
  • Avoid using common words in your password. Substitute them with numbers and punctuation instead. For example, @ can replace the letter ‘A’ and an exclamation point can serve as the letters “I” or “L.”
  • Get creative with your spelling. Use phonetic replacements, such as “Ph” instead of “F.” Or make deliberate, but obvious misspellings, such as “enjin” instead of “engine.”
  • Unique accounts=unique passwords: Use different passwords for different accounts and devices so that if an attacker guesses one password, they do not have access to all your accounts.
  • Use strong identification. Always opt to enable stronger identification when available, especially for accounts that contain sensitive information such as email or bank accounts.

For more information on online safety, contact your local Marine Corps Family Team Building office. You can also check out the Department of Homeland Security for more information.