Passwords were a lot more fun when we were kids. They would open secret doors, clubhouses and occasionally earn us treats. Now, reality has set in and the average person has 15 passwords for more "serious" stuff like online bank accounts, work computers and email addresses. If those passwords are compromised, our financial, professional or personal well-being could be at stake. It's important to take it seriously!
Here are a few tips to help you pick a perfect password:
Avoid obvious, easy-to-guess passwords like "12345," "abcd," "qwerty," "password," "love," etc.
Don't use overtly biographical information like the name of your college, street, pet, greatest accomplishment, birthday or sweetheart.
Avoid a single, properly spelled word from the dictionary. Instead, use some random combination of letters, numbers and symbols. For example, a word like hot dogs could be spelled "H0td0g$37."
Write your password down and hide it in a safe place in case you forget it. Don't stick it to your monitor or leave it out in the open.
Don't tell your password to anyone.
Change your password often, as in several times a year.
Run an antivirus scan frequently to check for Trojan horses and other malicious programs.
Last but not least, don't use just one password for all your accounts. Most people slack on this one, but it's a biggie. Each account should have a different password.
You are now equipped with the tools to have a fabulously safe password. So, get out there, get nerdy and, until next time, stay tuned!
Katie is an Emmy-nominated tech host for A&E's We Mean Business . She can also be seen as a tech expert on CNN, The Style Network, AOL and others. She holds a degree in Information Technology New Media from RIT. You can find her on the Web at KatieLinendoll.com .