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Media > Newsletters > Consumer Advocate > February 2018 > Beyond Passwords: Four Cyber Tips For 2018

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Beyond Passwords: Four Cyber Tips For 2018

Do you go online but wonder if you are taking all the right cybersecurity steps? Here are four tips you can apply right now.
Cybersecurity experts are encouraging people to use passphrases instead of passwords. A passphrase is a sentence or combination of words that is easy to remember but longer and more complex than a traditional 8-12 character password.
The following is an example of a good passphrase: IWantChocol@te2day. This passphrase works because it is unique and easy to remember. Additionally, it is long and complex and contains unexpected characters, increasing its strength.
When developing a passphrase, here are some tips to consider:
  • A passphrase can include lines from a book, song, movie, or play.
  • Increase complexity by adding unexpected characters, such as symbols, numbers, or capital letters.
  • As with any password, the longer, the better. 
Two-Factor Authentication
Two-factor authentication (2FA) is a security enhancement that requires you to present two pieces of evidence to log into an account. Beyond just something you know (like your password), you generally must also demonstrate something you have (like a phone) or who you are (like a fingerprint or retina scan). 
Examples of 2FA that you may already use include: 
  • Inserting your debit card at an ATM and then entering your PIN.
  • Logging onto a website that sends a numeric code to your cell phone, which you must enter in order to gain access to your account. 
Using 2FA helps protect you by adding an additional layer of security, thus making it harder for cybercriminals to access your account. While no account can ever be completely safe from cybercrime, using 2FA can substantially reduce the likelihood that your account will be compromised.
You can verify if your online services offer 2FA by going to  and clicking on the appropriate category that applies to your service. Just because a service offers 2FA doesn’t mean it is active.  You must enable 2FA on each of your accounts in order to use this additional layer of security. 
Password Managers
Finding it next to impossible to remember all your complex, unique, and long passwords or passphrases? Consider using a “password manager” program or app to keep up. Password managers can create, use, and store passwords in a program that may use strong encryption to make your personal information difficult to hack but still easy for you to access using a master password that you must memorize or keep in a secure location that only you have access to.
Some password managers are free while others charge a monthly fee. Some store your passwords on your device while others use cloud-based storage. You may find it helpful to ask friends and family for recommendations, read consumer reviews, consult computer-related websites, and use other tech resources to find the password manager that is right for you. 
Backup Your Devices
Computer viruses such as ransomware can lock up your device and demand money to let you access your own data. Given these risks, it is more important than ever to back up the information and other data on your devices on a separate external hard drive or through a cloud-hosted service. By backing up your device, you may be able to restore your data if it is lost or compromised. As with password managers, there are a variety of backup options, so look to recommendations, reviews, and your other tech-related resources to find the backup method that is right for you. 
To learn more from the Ohio Attorney General’s Office or to schedule a free presentation on the Cybersecurity Help, Information, and Protection Program (CHIPP), visit, or call 800-282-0515.