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Make a Strong Password for Your Online Accounts

Last updated on October 19, 2014

Nowadays, it seems like there is constantly news about some new way that people are hacking into accounts, or getting account details. While this probably doesn’t matter for some of your more innocuous accounts, you wouldn’t want a stranger to have access to your online banking account or social media profiles.

One of the best ways to protect your online accounts is with a strong password. So, leave your ‘password1234’ at the door, and follow these guidelines for stronger protection the next time you create an account online:


Throw out predictable passwords.
If someone is trying to guess your password, there are two types of predictable passwords that they will start with. The first is a generic password – something that is easy to type or easy to guess, for example:

  • 123456, abc123, etc.
  • password, p@55w0rd, or any variation
  • qwerty or asdfgh
  • letmein or opensesame

The next typical password is something personal about yourself. This is probably a little bit more secure, but it is still easy to guess to an experienced hacker. These types of personal passwords include things like the name of a family member, friend, or pet or part of your address or phone number.

Instead, experts recommend using a short phrase of at least 15 characters that will be easy for you to remember, but hard for others to guess. For example, “Always be honest” would become ‘alwaysbehonest.’ Choosing something inspirational or goal driven can also be a good way to inspire yourself when you log in to your websites.

Use symbols or special characters for extra protection.
On some websites, they require additional numbers or special characters for added security. Regardless of whether it is required, these additional features will give your password added strength. Either replace some of your letters with numbers (alw@ysb3h0nest) or add special characters between words of your chosen phrase (always@be#honest). Just be careful about ambiguous characters when creating a password – I i 1 l ! | – these are all different characters that you may not be able to differentiate, especially if they are written down.

Once you’ve made a secure password, shield it from others.
A secure password does you no good if it is out in the open for prying eyes to see. Just like you wouldn’t leave your house key under your front doormat, don’t leave a sticky note full of passwords under your keyboard. Once you know your password by heart, destroy all evidence of it from your computer and your desk area.

It is also important to remember that passwords need to be changed occasionally – some experts recommend as much as once a month. This will help to ensure that anyone trying to hack into your online accounts is kept guessing – literally!

If you want to protect more than just your online identity, call Vargas and Vargas insurance at 617-298-0655 to ask about how you can get a free quote on one of their top of the line insurance policies. They offer health insurance, home insurance, auto insurance, and much more. These policies will keep you safe from a plethora of potential causes of harm.

Photo credit: theanthonyryan / Foter / CC BY-SA

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