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PINs and Passwords: Your First Line of Defence

One of the top causes of data breaches by hackers is poorly secured devices and accounts. These may include computers, laptops, phones, tablets, bank accounts, email and social media accounts, etc. These devices and accounts are often secured by Personal Identification Numbers (PINs), hand selected by the owner, in addition to (or instead of) passwords or biometrics to lock and unlock. These PINS, or passwords (a phrase, word, etc.), are the first line of defence against unauthorized access into your personal or business information and devices. Because they are the first line of defence, it is very important to maximize their effectiveness in deterring hackers.

The repercussions of having a PIN or password hacked include losing valuable information and data or having money or identity stolen. Accounts or devices with simple or commonly used PINs or passwords are the most likely to be hacked and become the victim of this kind of theft.

In order to create a strong PIN/password that will be difficult for a hacker to break through, make it difficult for others to guess. This includes:

  • Ensuring that it is unique (you haven’t used a similar PIN before)

  • Do not use the same PIN across devices or accounts

  • Avoid using information you may have shared online, including birthdays, anniversaries, phone numbers or addresses

  • Use a combination of letters, numbers, upper/lower case and symbols whenever possible

  • Avoid recognizable number or letter sequences (i.e. 1234, ABCD) and avoid popular dates (i.e. anything 19XX or 20XX)

  • Add complexity to your passcodes, including using PINs longer than four characters when possible (a six digit pin has 1,000,000 unique combinations)

  • Use a misspelled word or a creative version of spelling to make it even more difficult to guess

  • Do not write your passwords down or record them in any place that could be accessed by someone else

Investigation Hotline Canada Inc. has a team of professionals that are ready to help you if you find yourself the victim of theft or hacking. Consider giving us a call.