- Use a strong password. A strong password contains a combination of six or more uppercase and lowercase letters, plus punctuation and numbers. Using all four types of characters works the best. For example instead of using welcome use W3Lc0mE^9.
- Passwords should be eight or more characters in length. The longer the password, the harder it is to crack.
- Never use the same password twice. If, for example, your eBay account were hacked and your password obtained, the hacker would have instant access to your PayPal account if you use the same password.
- Do not use common information in your password, such as birthdates, your phone number, or other information directly related to you.
- Passwords comprised of characters rather than proper words are more secure.
- Refrain from writing passwords down and do not login to accounts via a public computer (e.g., at the library or Internet cafe) and save the password details in the browser.
- Never click an e-mail link and log into a secure site from an e-mail. Even if the e-mail looks legitimate, always type the URL into a browser yourself, then log in to your account. This will help you avoid phishing attacks.
- Do not allow applications to store your passwords online, and remember to clear your browser cache, history and clear passwords frequently.
- Remember to change your passwords frequently. The more important the account, the more frequently the password should be changed.
- Never communicate a password to anyone, especially via e-mail or instant messenger. Passwords should always be kept private.
Some systems will allow you to use a pass phrase, that is a phrase with spaces. These are the most secure types of log-ins. If the system does not support phrases, then you can create a secure password from a phrase.
For example "My son Ryan is 12 years old" as a password could be msRi12yo. You can make this more secure my replacing some characters with uppercase letters and adding numbers and punctuation, like this: msRi12Y0!. These types of passwords are often easier to remember
- There are many online services that can help you determine how secure your password really is. Microsoft's Password Checker lets you enter in a password and the service will help you to gauge the strength of your password. Microsoft also recommends that a strong password should be 14 characters or longer, (eight characters or longer at a minimum), and it should include a combination of uppercase and lowercase letters, numbers, and symbols.