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How to choose a secure password

Posted by ken on August 22, 2012 at 2:10 PM

Using the same password for multiple accounts or choosing a word or phrase that’s easy to remember (such as a house address, birthday, last name) is very common—and a big mistake. Those kinds of passwords happen to be the easiest for hackers to crack. There are several things to consider when creating a password that will keep your information safe.

Choose passwords that use a variety of letters, figures, symbols and cases. Try putting your hands on the keyboard and just typing randomly—a gibberish password can be very secure.

Use similar-looking substitutions to create alternatives for words that you remember easily. For example, the number zero can replace the letter “O” and the dollar sign can replace the letter “S.”

Phonetic replacements are also a good idea (e.g., “Luv2Laf” for “Love to Laugh”).

Avoid including personal information, words or acronyms that can be found in the dictionary, phrases that can be tied back to you, sequential numbers and repeating characters.

Many websites will let you know whether your password is safe when you’re in the process of choosing it. Pay attention to that, and if the site indicates that your password is not secure, pick a different one.

To keep your passwords safe, never send them to anyone via email—even yourself. It’s also recommended that you change passwords every 30 to 90 days and never write them down or keep them anywhere near your computer.

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