Cyber criminals use every trick in the book to attack your online accounts.
And they rely on you making poor choices when it comes to passwords
Your passwords protect so much of your online life.
From banking and emails to social media, you can have an online account for pretty much anything these days.
A lot of people find it easier to use the same password across all accounts, as it's convenient and easy to remember.
But, that means they're easy to guess.
Attackers use software to work through combinations of letters and numbers to guess your password.
A weak password could be cracked in milliseconds, and if your passwords are not unique, all of you accounts are left open to attack.
Though social media, attackers could find personal information, like your name, the name of your partner, kids or pets, birthdates and addresses.
If someone gets into your email, not only do they have all your info, but any email they send will appear to come from you.
And if they get into your bank account, it's often very hard to recover the money that they steal.
It's easy to think that "this won't happen to me", or "no one is going to go to the effort to hack me". You're wrong.
They can do a lot of damage with very little effort, and the damage can take years to fix.
But there are some easy steps you can take to protect yourself.
Start by making sure you use a different password for every account you have, so if one account gets hacked, the others remain safe.
Make your passwords long and strong.
Use a string of 4 or more words.
Form a sentence or fun phrase.
The crazier, the better!
Include numbers and symbols, and remember to avoid any personal info.
That can be a lot to remember.
It's ok to write these passwords down, but they need to be kept somewhere safe.
The best way to keep long, strong and unique passwords safe, is with a password manager.
It's a program that manages all of your passwords, so you only need to remember 1 master password to access all of you crazy, long, strong passwords.
So, long, strong and unique to make it difficult for them, and use a password manager to make it easy for you.
For more information visit CERT.govt.nz