Resolution #8: Use Secure Passwords

by Larry Richman on January 8, 2013

This is one of a series of articles with suggested resolutions for the new year. See the other suggested resolutions.

In today’s world of online banking, online commerce, online social media, and online just-about-everything, chances are you have lots of online accounts. And chances are that you use the same username and password a lot. That’s a really bad practice.

SplashData has released its annual list of the worst online passwords. More people use the word “password” for their password than any other word or phrase. That makes “password” the absolute worst string of characters you can chose to protect your online accounts.

Here’s the top 10 list:

  1. password
  2. 123456
  3. 12345678
  4. abc123
  5. qwerty
  6. monkey
  7. letmein
  8. dragon
  9. 111111
  10. baseball

Seriously folks? We care so little about protecting our online bank accounts or other accounts that have sensitive information, including credit card numbers?

Start taking simple steps to protect your accounts by using stronger passwords and using different passwords for different websites.

  • Never use a word or combination of words that can be found in a dictionary.
  • Never use your mother’s maiden name, the name of your pet, the name of your spouse, or any other easily-guessed words.
  • Never use the same password for your bank account that you use anywhere else.
  • Do use strong passwords — 8 or more characters with mixed uppercase and lowercase and at least one number or special character (like #@~}[`^|).
  • Do use different username/password combinations on different websites. Especially risky is using the same password for entertainment sites, email, social networking, and financial services.

Having trouble remembering all those different passwords? Try using a password manager application that organizes and protects passwords and can automatically log you into websites. An alternative is to come up with a personal system that uses the same base password, but adds difference prefixes or suffixes to the password and/or username for different sites. Others like to use abbreviated scripture references.

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