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How to Choose Secure Passwords

Updated on August 27, 2010

With the Internet being used in so many aspects of our lives, security is more important than ever. It seems every web site we visit requires a user name and password, but it is difficult to remember a unique and secure password for every site. The most dangerous thing you can do use the same user name and password on every site.

If you use the same user name and password on multiple sites, when someone compromises just one web site, a hacker can potentially access all your online accounts.

Another common mistake you can make when choosing a password is using an easy-to-guess words like "password" "letmein" or simple dictionary words, the name of a child, spouse, or pet. Adding a date is also easily-guessed. Something like "robert69" or "amy1994", yet these are the type of passwords used most often. If you use a password like this, anyone who knows just a little information about you could easily access your accounts.

Bank and credit card web sites often require a additional security questions to be answered, yet many of these "security" questions may be obvious to someone who knows you or anyone can find out about you.

How should you choose a password?

Secure passwords should be a combination of letters (upper and lowercase), numbers and symbols, and should not contain dictionary words. The most secure password would be created entirely at random. For an example, see the Random Password Generator. Although these are the hardest passwords to crack, they are also the hardest to remember, and keeping track often requires writing them down.

Do not write your password on a piece of paper, post-it note, or plain text file on your computer! You can use a program to keep your passwords secure and encrypt them, and have only one password to remember. A program called Password Safe makes this task easy.

Even if you don't use a randomly generated password, please alter the word is some way to make it unique. Use letters instead of numbers, substitute letters, and add symbols. For example: B4da$$c4T or h0tm@m@!

A final tip, you may want to use a combination of passwords across sites, a more secure password at important sites, and a less secure one used on less-sensitive sites. This is a common practice, and can be made much more secure by adding a twist: alter an aspect of your password for every site, for example, if your password is r@d1caL append a few letters or numbers based on the site name, so your password on might become r@d1caLh by using the third letter "h" of the domain on the end of your password.


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      bgjmg 5 years ago


    • M.s Fowler profile image

      M.s Fowler 7 years ago from United states

      very useful hub!