Getting Comfortable With The Basics

A Unique Username Can Add an Extra Security Layer

Create a random and unique username and password for each web service.  Use a "Password Manager" like LastPass to remember and store them securely.

Many people use the same online username across multiple platforms and websites, from Gmail accounts to banking websites. One exposure to a person’s username can open the door to identity theft.

Back in 2014 Snapchat has a data breach it affected 4.6 million usernames and mobile numbers, more recently Yahoo lost control of databases containing information of over a billion users. Even compromised government sites have leaked user data. Using a randomized username is like having two passwords for an account because it makes it harder for someone to guess your username and break in. These cybersecurity hacks are happening more frequently targeting both usernames, and email addresses.

For almost anything you do online you need a username. Rather than using the same email address to log into Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, Amazon, and other online sites, you can create a unique online name. 

Unique usernames can be useful in a few different ways. 

  • Using different usernames for some of your accounts makes it harder for hackers
  • If your username is something unique or funny, it is easy to remember
  • It makes your profile memorable on Facebook, blogs, and forums

Username tips from the pros

  1. Email usernames and bank account usernames should be different.
  2. Never use your SSN or financial institution account as a username.
  3. Decide if your username protects your identity or can be public.
  4. Create a username that is simple enough to remember but hard to guess – and store it in your password manager.
  5. Avoid using familiar numbers with your usernames, such as an address or birth dates. 

There are various ways that you can create usernames. You could sit down and brainstorm some fun things yourself. Another approach is to get a little help, try a free online username generator. 

Here are a few username generators to try.

After creating a custom username using one of the above tools save it safely in LastPass.

Things to Consider When Choosing Usernames

You could make a unique username for each website or do them in groups. For example, you could use one username for your professional interests and another for your email, services, and sites. Doing this creates some separation and makes it harder for people to track you online.

If using a username professionally, remember it can be the first impression a business associate or potential client will have of you.

Try to stay anonymous. In most cases, try to keep identifying info out of your username. JohnSmithOakDrive would give away to much information about the user.

Check out the rules for each site. Some sites have a limit for how long your username is.

Protect your Username with a Secure Password and store them in a password manager like LastPass.

When choosing a username, you should also give some thought to online security. You need to protect your usernames and passwords. If your username and password are stolen or hacked in a security breach, cybercriminals and others could access your financial accounts, use your info for identity theft, or hurt your reputation online.