Can I Guess Your Password?

By: Stephanie Trahd

I’vebeen on the Internet a long time. In that time, I’ve visited about a zillionwebsites that required a username and password. OK, maybe it just seems like azillion. Let’s just say a lot.And I’ll bet you have at least a couple of dozen passwords too. Think about it– you have one (or more) for email, your ISP (Internet Service Provider),credit cards, banks, forums, chatrooms. . .you get the gist of it.Now consider that the average human brain can only hold five to nine “randombits of information" in its short-term memory. That’s why people chooseeasy-to-remember passwords, which are usually the most dangerous.For instance, did you know the most common password is simply “password"? Andit doesn’t help matters any that it is usually the default password for manysoftware programs and websites. Most people don’t change it as recommended, andwill even use “password" for all of their other passwords.So if you are using “password" as your password, change it today.

And don’tcreate the same user name and password everywhere – that is almost equallydangerous. Think about it. . . if a hacker figures out your email account loginand password, it will be pretty easy for them to figure out where else you haveaccounts and use that same login information. You might as well hang a“welcome" sign out in front of your credit card and bank account!Here are some very general rules for passwords:• Use different passwords for different accounts• Don’t use passwords that are easy to guess (family and pet names, phonenumbers, months, birthdates, etc.)• Also avoid common words – such as “password"! “God" is also an especiallycommon one.Write your passwords down on paper and keep them in a safe place. You can alsokeep them in your computer (such as in Excel), but print them whenever you makesignificant changes. You never know when your hard drive is going to crash. Becautious if using a password software program – some of them come with spyware,so do your research.Once you come up with a new password, run it through a free password evaluatorto determine its strength against hacking.?Just type “password evaluator" into your Google search bar and youshould have some good choices.?

Formore tips on choosing a good (and avoiding a bad) passwordFree Web Content, visit 1 Clean Computer. ?

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