Every single adult and child at some point relies on a secret password to get access to their personal information. Creating a secure password is crucial in preventing your personal information from being stolen.
Google has some tips for safely selecting and using a password:
- Use a different password for each of your important accounts, like your email and online banking accounts. Re-using passwords is risky. If someone figures out your password for one account, it’s possible they could get access to your personal information, or other online services like shopping or banking.
- Using numbers, symbols and mix of upper and lower case letters in your password makes it harder for someone to guess your password. For example, an eight-character password with numbers, symbols and mixed-case letters is harder to guess because it has 30,000 times as many possible combinations than an eight-character password with only lower case letters.
- Create a unique password that’s unrelated to your personal information and uses a combination of letters, numbers, and symbols. For example, you can select a random word or phrase and insert letters and numbers into the beginning, middle, and end to make it extra difficult to guess (such as “sPo0kyh@ll0w3En”). Don’t use simple words or phrases like “password” or “letmein,” keyboard patterns such as “qwerty” or “qazwsx,” or sequential patterns such as “abcd1234” which make your password easier to guess.
- Update your recovery email address regularly so that you can receive emails in case you need to reset your password. You can also add a recovery phone number to receive password reset codes via text message.
Many websites will also give you the option of answering a security question if you forget your password. If you create your own question, try to come up with one that has an answer only you would know. The answer shouldn’t be something that someone can guess by scanning information you’ve posted on blogs or social networking sites.
If you are asked to choose a question from a list, like the city where you were born, try to find a way to make your answer unique by using some of the tips above. That way even if someone guesses the answer, they won’t know how to enter it correctly.
- Don’t leave notes with your passwords to various sites on your computer or desk, where people can easily steal them and use them to compromise your accounts. If you choose to save passwords in a file on your computer, create a name for the file that won’t give it away. If you have a difficult time remembering multiple passwords, use a trusted password manager. Be sure to spend a few minutes checking out reviews and reputations of password manager services.