The passwords we use online are usually the only barriers that keep prying eyes away from our personal information such as emails, social networking profiles, online banking services and more.
Despite the threat from hackers, basic passwords such as 123456 and even ‘password’ itself are still being used by some users.
These careless habits are making it simpler for hackers to deduce your password and compromise your data, so it’s important to pick a strong password to keep your account secure. But, it’s not just picking a password, it’s also crucial that you change it regularly, which is easy for BT customers using My BT.
Here are some tips on how to make your passwords as strong and secure as possible:
How do I make my password secure, but easy to remember?
Strong passwords should be easy for you to remember but difficult for anyone else to guess.
Wherever possible you should choose a password that's eight characters long or more, which is the minimum many companies (including BT) will accept.
Include numbers, symbols and upper-case letters, as these make a password much harder to crack.
That's not actually as difficult as it sounds. To create a strong password, try creating an acronym from an easy-to-remember piece of information, such as a song lyric that has meaning to you.
Try swapping words for numbers, for instance ‘to’ might become ‘2’ and ‘T’ might become ‘7.’ The phrase, 'What's my favourite pet from my youth called? Terry', could create the related password of 'WmfpfmYc?7'.
Is there anything I should avoid when choosing a password?
Don’t pick names of family members, pets or things that people can easily associate with you.
A password that includes your full name or date of birth is not secure at all if someone already has access to that information.
Don’t use the same password on every website. If criminals manage to compromise one site and steal usernames and passwords, they'll often try those same combinations across other sites. Your BT account won’t be protected if another company loses your data, and you have used the same password. Criminals know just how often people rely on a single password across all their accounts, so don't do it.
What other strategies are there for creating passwords?
We reported on a new method involving poems that allows you to make the safest password possible – find out how it works here.
There’s also a technique called Diceware, which works by matching the numbers rolled to the Diceware word list to generate a word – creating a password that is truly random.
For example, if you roll 23454, that would create the word ‘droll.’ Read full instructions about how it works here.
Once I create a password I can just keep using it forever, right?
Wrong. The longer you use the same password, the more likely it is to be compromised. It's a good idea to change your password every month or at the very least every three months. If you think you're likely to forget to do this it's a good idea to add a reminder to your calendar.
Resetting your BT password
Log in to My BT and click Your profile. Scroll down to ‘Your BT ID details’ and click ‘Edit password’.
You’ll be asked to enter your Current password and your New password - the bar underneath will indicate how strong it is.
Underneath you’ll see Confirm new password which you can click when you are happy.
Alternatively, go to bt.com/forgotmypassword and enter your BT ID or email address and answer some security questions.
I find it hard to remember so may passwords, what can I do?
You're not alone in this. Many of us struggle with what's now known as Password Fatigue because we struggle to remember multiple passwords.
One solution that doesn't involve compromising your security is to use a password manager. BT Broadband customers can download the True Key by Intel Security app, which lets you automatically save passwords, recognise and log in to websites and apps. Your data is encrypted using strong encryption. Find out more about True Key.