Identity theft is a common and costly occurrence. To protect yourself, you need to protect more than just your bank PIN, you need strong passwords across the web.Lots of sites want you to create a password, but these passwords are not there just to be a nuisance. Passwords can be a valuable tool in preventing unauthorized access and protecting your data from ID theft, but only if you take the time to make secure ones. Look at a list of the most popular passwords. If yours is on there, then change it. Avoid other obvious ones too, like pet names and birthdays. Make sure that your password is at least 8 characters, and that it includes letters, numbers and symbols. Random upper and lower case letters can also make it more secure. You should use a different password for every site. If one site that you are registered at is hacked or you log in using a computer that has been compromised, hackers may try your stolen credentials at other sites.
Secure passwords should focus on unpredictability and length. If you are required to use a capital letter and a symbol and just use the former at the beginning of your password and the latter at the end, that is predictable. Ideally, your passwords wouldn’t even be words, they would just be completely random. This is unrealistic though without help. Even when we use words for our passwords, we have so many to remember that frustration is common. One solution is single sign on software. These services store and often generate your passwords for you. You log in with a master password, and the program plugs in all your other passwords for you. You never need to remember all these other passwords, so they can be much more complex than without single sign on software. These randomly generated passwords are much more difficult to crack, and the program will remember a different one for you for every different site.
Don’t settle for simple passwords. These are easy to remember, but also easy to crack.