12345, Ashley, password, and iloveyou may be easy passwords to remember, but to hackers they look more like “hack me”. In a world where hackers can crack most common codes in mere seconds, passwords like “suzy1959,” “admin123” are just not cutting it. The combination of poor passwords and automated attacks means that in just 110 attempts, a hacker will typically gain access to one new account or a mere 17 minutes to break into 1000 accounts.

We expect a certain level of security when working on our computers, whether we’re filling out private account information, making online purchases, or uploading files to a trusted site. But just because a site provides the login screen (the “lock”) doesn’t mean your key is doing its part to protect your information.

A study on password worst practices by Imperva (http://www.imperva.com/docs/WP_Consumer_Password_Worst_Practices.pdf) revealed half of us use the same (or very similar) password to all websites that require logging in, and if allowed we will choose very weak passwords even for sites that hold our most private and important data.

As we continue to dedicate more of our lives to the digital world, it’s imperative that we safeguard personal information. Even seemingly silly or irrelevant accounts can reveal pertinent information like your email account, last name, nickname or location — all of which can be used to unlock other areas of your private data.

Choosing the right password can exponentially improve your security. And while trying to be meaningfully random is not always easy, there are a few guidelines that can help you create a password that is both fool-proof and easy to remember.

Do Not:

Use a default password, such as “password” or “admin”. Check out this NY Times article for examples of the […]