Passwords and PINs are of very great importance to cybercriminals and the need to use secure, strong, and unique passwords cannot be overemphasized, as there is a growing need to entrust an increasing amount of personal information to organizations, businesses, websites, and social media applications that can fall victim to data breaches and password leaks. Although there may be little to be done in ensuring the protection of the password of users from data breaches, it is important to take precautions in making it easily accessible. Some precautions in ensuring the protection of passwords and PIN include: 

  1. Where possible, use two-factor authentication for passwords and applications.
  2. Use a strong password. This includes one with about 15 to 20 characters including letters, symbols, alphabets, etc. This makes it difficult for hackers and cybercriminals to break.
  3. Reset/change password as often as possible. This is to make it less traceable and predictable. This will also stop unauthorized access immediately. 
  4. Do not use the same password or reuse password/pin for applications, websites, etc. Where this is not done, it opens the door to unauthorized access to multiple websites and applications by hackers or cybercriminals.
  5. Use a password manager application whenever necessary. Password managers are applications used to store login details, passwords, PIN,s and other login information to websites and applications you use and log in automatically. They encrypt inputted passwords into a database with a master password- the password must be strong and is the only password requirement to be remembered.
  6. Password/PIN are both private and personal; they thus should be kept safe and free from the knowledge of others. Sharing can lead to authorized access by the person it is leaked to or it can get stolen by hackers or cybercriminals from the person.
  7. Avoid inputting pin or password in public or crowded places. This is to prevent others from viewing the inputted information.
  8. Avoid the use of public Wi-Fi or internet connection you do not control when inputting password/PIN including when visiting important sites/applications e.g. banking applications etc.
  9. Install firewall and anti-malware on your phone, laptops, and other internet-accessible devices to keep intruders from hacking into the device easily or installing viruses and other malware.
  10. Lock devices when not in use or inactive; this is the first step to physically prevent unauthorized access to websites, applications, and other personal information.
  11. Don’t store passwords in easily accessible places like diaries. 
  12. Update operating systems and applications as required. With updates comes an increased level of security and protection which is absent in older versions which makes users more susceptible to attacks, hacking, etc.
  13. Do not use personal information as a password or PIN as this is predictable and easy to guess.