Image of a password field on a computer screen

Using a Passphrase For Password Security

With the prevalence of online banking, social networking and home shopping, password security should always be of paramount concern. After all, passwords are inarguably the last line of defense against hackers, identity thieves and other types of malicious characters. However, this is sometimes easier said than done. With multiple accounts across an array of different platforms, many of us err on the side of convenience and choose weak passwords . . . for instance, children’s names, dates of birth or other publicly available information. While these can be easily remembered, they can also be effortlessly cracked by intrepid fraudsters, who often scour social media sites for identifiable information.

One strategy for improving online security is the use of a passphrase — which is a short sentence or a random series of words.  These are particularly attractive because of their length but when they include numbers, special characters, spaces and capitalization they can be almost impregnable. The key is to choose something which is meaningful and memorable, but that can’t be easily guessed.

Below are some examples of complex passwords using a passphrase:
 
Passphrase
Stronger Passphrase
My bank is stronger than yours! My banks$tronger than y0urs!
NSB is Number 1 and well north. N$b is_#1 & Well N0rth!
100 pennies are still a dollar. 100 P3nnies @re $till a Dollar.
As always you should exercise caution, as even the strongest password will not protect you if it is used in a casual manner. As a result, you should always be mindful of the following:
  • Never use the same password or passphrase on multiple sites or accounts. This will protect you if any individual platform is hacked.
  • Don’t share passwords or passphrase strategies with anyone, including coworkers and family members.
  • Avoid using them on public computers or unsecured wireless networks.

If you suspect identity theft or fraud involving your North Shore Bank account:

  1. Contact North Shore Bank at (978) 538-7000.
  2. Contact the following three credit bureaus to have a fraud alert placed on your credit report.
  3. File a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission at www.ftc.gov/​
  4. File a report with your local law enforcement agency