Securing yourself: Ways to ensure maximum password security on the internet


Sam McGrath

“Two-Factor Authentication is one of the best ways to secure and protect your social media account”

Sam McGrath, Business Manager

The average teenager has social media platforms such as Instagram, Snapchat and Twitter, but how is personal data protected? What can users do to better secure and protect their privacy?


Recent Instagram hacks show just how vulnerable teenagers are for phishing messages and other popular tactics used by hackers. Nick Hammes, a senior at PV, received a message with a link that intrigued him to click on it. It guided him to a login page where he typed in his credentials and his account was exposed to the hacker. 


There are several red flags in that scenario that Hammes wished he would have picked up on. He commented, “It was frustrating because I knew I messed up and then someone had access to my account.” The hacker ended up using the account to send identical messages out to many of Hammes’ followers. 


Hackers use many advanced and hard-to-spot tactics to exploit accounts. Jason Koch, the computer technician at PV, has several tips to help anyone protect their online accounts: “Never type in your credentials after opening a link from an email or message. Instead go to the website and login, and if you have any questions, call the company and ask.” 


Occasionally hackers will pose as someone else to get a user to click on a link or divulge information. These are called phishing messages from spoof accounts. Koch stated, “If anything looks suspicious look at the email address and don’t be afraid to pick up the phone or stop by someone’s office to just make sure it was them.” Koch finished off by saying that a user should never provide sensitive information like passwords through email. 


This leads into the topic of password security, which most IT professionals try to avoid after they learn that “password” is the most popular password. Creating strong passwords can be the key to reducing the number of attempted logins to a user’s private accounts. Koch understands that it’s easy to forget passwords, so he said, “In this day and age, you can get several encrypted password managers on your phone.”


The key to building strong passwords is to have a phrase in mind and then use upper and lower case letters, special characters and numbers. It is important to have that strong password for a password manager and then that manager will create and store passwords for accounts. 


With today’s technology, it is easier than ever to secure an account and utilize many different tools to keep private data safe. Two-factor authentication, password managers and clicking with caution are all great tools to stay safe. When account security isn’t a top priority it becomes easier than ever for a hacker to take advantage of an unprotected, distracted and careless user.