Identity Fraud Protection for Online Sensitive Info
Identity fraud protection (for your company, your employees, and your customers) can be a full-time battle on multiple fronts. First, you must secure hard copy documents that contain personal identification information like social security numbers, financial account numbers, and dates of birth. One of the best ways to prevent identity fraud is knowing how sensitive documents are stored, and when to shred them.
Online Storage with Secure Passwords
Today, most information is also stored online, where the first line of identity fraud protection is a strong password policy. It’s not enough to understand how to set your own strong passwords; you also need to provide guidance to employees and customers using your systems and websites.
You can provide training to employees and require password resets every 30 to 90 days. Identity fraud protection also requires customers to use strong passwords. You might want to set parameters on your system so that it won’t accept something like the customer’s name or 1234 as a password. If they grumble, remind them of the hassle if their account becomes a victim of identity fraud. Having to maintain a secure password is a small price to pay.
Seven Characteristics of Strong Passwords
If you’re implementing a strong password policy, here are 7 elements of a secure password:
- The strongest passwords are not real words.
- Strong passwords contain multiple types of characters, including letters, numbers, and special characters like #, $, and &.
- The best password programs are case sensitive, which means they recognize the difference between upper and lower case letters.
- Good passwords alternate character types to create nonsense phrasing like 3vh@pr3.
- Strong passwords are secret. They aren’t shared or written down; they’re never stored in a computer file on your desktop.
- Strong passwords are eight or more characters in length.
- Good passwords are unique; never use your email password as a password somewhere else.
Different Passwords, Different Accounts
Using case-sensitive programs and requiring numbers, letters, and special characters exponentially increases the amount of password options for a phrase with eight or more characters. This increases the amount of work a hacker has to do to break passwords. Using a different password is important, especially for email. Since email is often the login for other programs, if a hacker figures out your email password — and you’ve used the same password elsewhere — he’s just gained entry to all your information. If this hasn’t scared you into creating stronger passwords, read this article from the FBI on the different kinds of password hacking. Identity fraud protection — for sensitive information stored online — really starts with strong passwords.