10 Things Everyone Should Know About Passwords

Your bank data, your accounts, your email, and your life are all wrapped up in your ability to create secure passwords and remember them. This wordcloud shows the most commonly used passwords. If you see one that you use, stop now and immediately change yours!

Tag Cloud of most commonly used passwords

1 – Never Tape It On Your Desk

Most password theft happens because of “social engineering.” Most people keep their password taped under their keyboard or in the right or left hand drawer or wallet. Get an app like Password Caddy (http://j.mp/pcaddy)  on your phone and store your password there, not out where the world can see it. (Or use Last Pass!)

2 – Switch to a passphrase

Just using a phrase Use a phrase instead with uppercase, lowercase, and numbers included. Ilovetofishat6:00am! is an example.

3 – Don’t be obvious

If you look at the worst passwords of 2013 (http://j.mp/worstpass) 123456 and password top the list. (Sunshine and letmein are also in the top.) Don’t use your spouse's name, kids, grandkids, birthdays, phone numbers or a keyboard row of any kind.

4- Never save your passwords in your web browser

If you have to, use a tool like LastPass to keep it safe but if you save it in your web browser, you are an easy target.

5 – Have a unique password for your bank and email account NOW

When you sign up for a site that asks for your email and password – DON'T ENTER YOUR PASSWORD TO YOUR EMAIL. It is asking you to set up a NEW password for that particular site. No one will ever ask for your email password. No one.

Your email password and your banking password should be unique and NEVER USED AS THE PASSWORD ON ANY OTHER SITE.

6 – TRICK: substitute numbers and letters

Pick certain numbers to replace letters – like a code — you could always use the number 7 instead of T's for example.

7 – TRICK: Use the site name somehow in the password

You can have a system for passwords but make them unique by using the site name you’re logging into somehow.

8  – Use a password manager

Many experts are recommending password managers after the recent Heartbleed bug (http://j.mp/pwdmgr)

Remember that if you mess up and forget your master password you're locked out of everything permanently. LastPass or Dashlane are 2 good ones. (PC Magazine recently reviewed some, so you can take a look at their 2015 Password Manager Recommendations)

9 – Use a fingerprint reader

Biometrics or the using of your fingerprint or some other unique identifier related to your biology is definitely the way things are going. I love the fingerprint unlock on my iPhone 5s. (NYMI has a heartbeat sign in tool coming soon.)

10 – Lock your screen and log out

If you step away from your computer or mobile, set it to lock or log out. This is particularly important if you have anything secure on your computer.

Having a method to remember highly secure passwords will keep you and your loved ones safe. Spread the word.

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