Choose Good Passwords to Protect Identity — November 2012, reviewed January 2013

News reports periodically inform us of security breaches by computer hackers.  Regular internet users know the challenges passwords can provide. They are vitally important for protecting identity but if you spend much time using various websites, one may be tempted to get ‘sloppy’ in developing distinctive passwords.

One password protection manager software source, recently listed the ‘Top 25 Worst Passwords’. The top three have not changed since last year. The three worst are: the word ‘password’, the first six numbers or ‘123456’ and the first eight numbers or ‘12345678.’ It’s important to get creative to protect your identity online through stronger passwords.

Computer hackers like lazy password people. First of all, avoid using the same passwords or password combination for multiple websites. Especially risky is using the same password for entertainment sites as used for email, social networking and financial services.

Use passwords of eight characters or more with mixed types of characters like upper or lower case, numbers and symbols. One way to make remembering longer, more secure passwords is to use a series of short words with a number, space or symbols between each word like, ‘bike2town2day’. Another idea would be use a favorite saying or item minus the vowels and or certain letters.

If you do jot down passwords put them in a secure location which is not your wallet or on your credit card. There is software or apps for managing and organizing different passwords but you might need another password for that, too.