Tips for Choosing Secure Passwords

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As a reminder, passwords for sites that have credit card or personal information should have strong, unique passwords:

  • Always use at least 8 characters.
  • Use a mix of alphabetical and numeric characters. Use a mixture of upper- and lowercase; passwords are case sensitive. Use symbols if the system allows.
  • Make your passwords a prefix and a suffix – the prefix might be Rr#1 and you use that for all sites that allow complex passwords
    • Some sites may not allow special characters so your prefix for those might be Rr31
  • Make your suffix specific to the site – Examples would be:
    • 1) using a phrase to match the site: eBay might be “buyme” – Amazon might be “jungle”
    • 2) the first letters of the site repeated: ebebeb or amamam
    • 3) the site name reversed for four letters: yabe or noza
  • Your final password would be something like Rr#1buyme, Rr#1ebebeb, Rr#1yabe
  • Avoid suffixes like “ebay” for eBay and “amazon” for Amazon.
  • You may want to keep a separate prefix for banking sites.
  • You may want a prefix for work versus personal accounts.

If you use the same few prefixes and keep a list of your suffixes, your online accounts will be more secure.  If one password is hacked, the hackers only get into that account and maybe know your prefix. #CyberAware

To help keep things straight, you might consider using a reputable password manager. Here are some recommendations:

PCMag’s The Best Free Password Managers for 2015
PCMag’s The Best Password Managers for 2015

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