Confession time: Are you still using "123456" or "password" to keep your accounts protected? Or worse, are you using them for all your passwords?! Well, you're not the only one.
SplashData recently released a list of the 25 most common passwords found on the Internet (read: the worst!). At the top were passwords that were a series of consecutive numbers or incorporated the site name, like "facebook123."
Needless to say, using passwords like this can leave your personal data vulnerable to hackers. Yes, we know they're easier to remember, but a few basic upgrades can help keep your data safe.
1. Make longer passwords for higher security.
A password that feature eight characters or more can take more than two years to crack. An easy trick: Pick a simple sentence and use the first letters of the words and include different numbers, symbols, and capitalization. To make the password easy to remember, pick something that relates to you. "I have two dogs and one fish" could be "ih2d&1F," which is unique to you and quick to remember but harder for others to guess.
2. Avoid other easily decipherable passwords (besides for the list above).
Don't use words found in the dictionary or other commonly misspelled versions of words. And stay away from any sequences or repeated characters. To check the security of a password, use a password checker, like the one Microsoft offers.
3. Change your password every few months.
Try to pick different passwords for the different applications or websites you use, so that if someone does guess one of your passwords, they can't access everything.
4. Keep track of your passwords using secure password managing software.
Don't just jot it down on a piece of paper! And never give out your password to strangers.
- By Rachel Rothman
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