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How to choose secure Internet passwords

Molly Cerreta Smith has enjoyed a career in the publishing industry for more than 10 years. As an editor of several regional magazines, she has had the opportunity throughout her career to meet many local celebrities, businesspeople, ent...

Create secure Internet passwords

It seems like you have to have a password for nearly everything you want to do on the Internet these days – checking email and your bank accounts, not to mention social media such as Facebook and Twitter. So, how do you ensure that your Internet passwords are secure? Here are some tips to choosing secure Internet passwords.

Woman creating passwordStep 1: The more the merrier

Never choose a password with less than six characters, since it can be easily deduced by hackers using brute force software. In fact, Microsoft suggests using a code with at least 14 characters if possible.

Step 2: Form a forMUla

Dictionary words, in any language, forwards and backwards, can be detected by cyber criminals. Instead of using actual words, try using the following password formula.

Step 3: Sentence structure

Create a password based on a sentence that is relatable to you (so you can remember it). For example: I like to write about how to choose secure Internet passwords. Now, combine the first letter of each word and randomly mix lower and upper case letters to make your password harder to decode: IltWAhTcsIP.

Step 4: Safety in numbers

Next, add number to the middle of the password, but avoid using your age, birth date, address, or the like: IltWA47hTcsIP. Then, add a symbol and/or punctuation mark to the front and the back: %IltWA47hTcsIP?

Step 5: Multiple choice

Don't use the same password for all of your various Internet-related accounts. If that one password is detected, you'll be vulnerable to all kinds of fraudulent Internet activity.

Step 6: Memory game

Admittedly, especially if you have a lot of passwords, you may have a hard time remembering all of these personal access codes. While it's best to try to memorize your passwords, you can write them down. Just be sure to keep your "password cheat sheet" in a very secure place – not on your computer! If trying to remember too many passwords is keeping you up at night, then utilize a password manager that can securely store all of your passwords, thus leaving you with just one master password to remember.

Step 7: Protect your password

For security purposes, try not to use your password on a public computer and never share your password via email, even if it's requested from a company you deem credible.

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