Upgrade Your Password to Keep Your Tax Information Safe

INDIANAPOLIS — As part of National Tax Security Awareness week, December 3-7, the Indiana Department of Revenue (DOR) and the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) urge individuals to upgrade their passwords to protect sensitive data online.

Any individual or tax practitioner who maintains any type of online accounts should use strong passwords to protect against savvy cybercriminals taking over their identities and accessing sensitive tax and financial data.

The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) recently updated its guidance on creating a strong password, suggesting a passphrase such as a favorite line from a movie or a series of associated words rather than using a single password. The idea is to create a passphrase that can be remembered easily and protect the account. This means passwords like – “t6&j3#QR%5”- are out. Longer, personal phrases you can remember – for example- SnowCloudWhiteCold- are preferred.

NIST suggests three steps to building a better password:

  • Step 1 – Leverage your powers of association. Identify associated items that have meaning to you.
  • Step 2 – Make the associations unique to you. Passphrases should be words that can go together in your head, but no one else would suspect. Good example: Items in your office such as FanPictureMousePen. Bad example: The names of your children.
  • Step 3 – Picture this. Create a passphrase you can picture in your head. In the example above, picture items in your office. The key is to create a passphrase that is hard for a cybercriminal to guess but easy for you to remember.

Remember to also always use a different password or passphrase for each account, and use a password manager if necessary to keep track of passwords for multiple accounts.

To learn more on how to prevent identity theft, visit DOR’s website at www.dor.in.gov and click on “Stop ID theft” on the left menu.

About Brian Scott

I play on the radio from 7 am -1 pm weekdays on 98.9 WYRZ and WYRZ.org. Follow me on twitter @WYRZBrianScott or e-mail me at brian@wyrz.org.

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