Update Your Passwords to Protect You and Your Clients

March 19, 2019

Scammers are increasingly targeting the real estate business and jeopardizing transactions to dupe clients out of their down payments. And your email may be one prime entry point for them.

Revisiting your passwords may be one step you can take to keep your email and data more secure from hackers.

“It is a hassle to keep track of all your passwords,” writes Robert Siciliano, a real estate safety and security trainer, on his blog at Safr.me. “Many people use the same username and password combination for all of their accounts. This, however, is a big mistake. All it takes is one hacker getting ahold of one of your accounts, and the rest of your accounts are now compromised.”

The best passwords tend to be 14 characters. Siciliano recommends using the following formula to create stronger passwords: Eight characters + three characters (category) + three characters (unique to site). He offers up an example of how this would work:

  • Categorize a list of all websites on which you use a username and password. For example, categories include your social media, email, and banking sites.
  • Start your passwords with eight unique characters. Siciliano recommends using this as the first part of every password you create. He offers the following example: H76&2j9@
  • Dedicate three characters in your password to coordinate with your categories. These three characters within your password will help you better remember it and allows you to change up your passwords from site to site. For example, your social media passwords could include “SM$” or your email sites could include “@eM.”
  • Add three more unique characters. To make it 14 characters, you’ll add three more characters that will be unique to just that site. For example, Siciliano used “g5P” for a Facebook password example. The entire password would then be “H76&2j9@SM$g5P.”

So, how do you remember it all? Siciliano recommends writing down your passwords and placing them in a secure location (not near your computer). Or, he recommends using an acronym to help you remember. For example, thinking of a phrase like “My sister asked me for milk and butter” and then using the first letter in all of these words: MSAMFMAB.

You could use that as your eight-character common denominator. Or, even make it more secure, by swapping out some letters for numbers or symbols (e.g. M3AM4MA8).

A password manager such as LastPass, Dashlane, and 1Password can also help you remember all your passwords and may make it easier to keep them organized from site to site. Read more tips: Don’t Get ‘Pwned’: Keep Your Data Secure

How to Create Bulletproof Passwords,” Safr.me (December 2018)