Common password mistakes

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  • Never use personal information such as your name, birthday, or spouse’s name. Personal information is often publicly available, which makes it much easier for someone to guess your password.
  • Use a longer password. Your password should be at least six characters long, and for extra security it should ideally be at least 12 characters (if the site allows it).
  • If you need to write down your passwords, keep them in a secure place. It’s even better if you encrypt your passwords, or just write down hints for them that others won’t be able to understand.
  • Don’t use the same password for each account. If someone does discover your password for one account, all of your other accounts will be vulnerable.
  • Try to include numbers, symbols, and both uppercase and lowercase letters (if the site allows it).
  • Avoid using words that can be found in the dictionary. For example, “swimming1” would be a weak password.
  • Random passwords are the strongest. Use a password generator instead of trying to think of one your own.
  • Random passwords are harder to remember, so create a mnemonic device. For example, “S=jKp2#” can be remembered as “JERRY = jessica NOKIA Nija 1 #.” This may still seem random, but with a bit of practice it becomes relatively easy to memorize. You can also choose a sentence that you know you’ll remember and then use the first letter of each word in the sentence, plus a few symbols or numbers, as your password.

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