On March 17, 2020, the National Institutes of Health released an article announcing that coronavirus can live for hours on certain surfaces. According to a study published in The New England Journal of Medicine, “[t]he scientists found that severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) was detectable in aerosols for up to three hours, up to four hours on copper, up to 24 hours on cardboard and up to two to three days on plastic and stainless steel.” In other words, paper and coin money may contribute to the spread of the disease.
So, now may be a good time to either switch to forms of electronic payment or increase usage thereof. And, with all such digital systems, cybersecurity becomes critical. Fortunately, certain apps provide for multi-factor authentication and passwords can (and should) be updated as much as possible.
Advising customers not to use the same password for its service as for other applications, Venmo warns its customers that “[h]ackers can steal your Venmo password from the database of another company.” Therefore, in addition to utilizing multi-factor authentication (if offered), below are 6 ways to strengthen existing passwords for your payment applications if you choose to move away from paper money during the COVID-19 outbreak:
Never use the same password twice – even for separate applications.
Consider using a nonsense phrase, such as “Do2CatsSmoke4Cigars?”
Never include personal information such as kids’ names, pets’ names, address information, anniversary dates, or birthdays.
Use a password manager – What’s that? An online service that auto-generates random passwords that are kept in an encrypted and centralized location. Examples: Dashland, LastPass, 1Password, and BitWarden.
Do not let Google remember your passwords for you – because if your google account is compromised, so are all your other accounts.
The longer the better – make sure your password is at least 12-15 characters.
Below are the worst passwords from the last two years according to SplashData: