The average Internet user has 25 online accounts—so who can remember all those passwords, let alone create new good ones when you change them up? But if you slack off, you’re more likely to get hacked. So we’re here to help! Follow these tips to bulk up your cyber security and create strong passwords.

  1. Be original
    Avoid using words found in the dictionary, as well as sequential numbers. They’re easy targets for a security breach. Definite no-no’s: “123456,” “qwerty” and (you’re not going to believe it, but it’s common) “password.
  2. Don’t cut it short
    Make your passwords at least 8 characters long and sprinkle in some special characters, numbers and capitalization. Those special characters and upper-cases can be easy to forget, so get creative and swap 0 for O, $ for S, and ! for I
  3. Get fancy
    Instead of a traditional password, try a passphrase or acronym. If your passphrase of choice is “That’s why I’m easy like Sunday morning,” then the corresponding acronym would be “twielsm”. Don’t forget to throw in those extras to make it more complex, i.e. Tw!el$m2012.
  4. Get familiar
    Don’t draw password inspiration from personal information such as names, emails, birthdays and street names, because hackers will get lucky with a little snooping.
  5. Mix it up
    Fact: Two out of three users have only one or two passwords. Don’t use the same password for everything. We cannot stress this enough.
  6. Don’t recycle
    Ideally you should change your password every three to six months, but if that’s too much of a hassle then at least change them once a year. Test and change your passwords regularly using a trusted site. Here’s one we like:

Whenever we create new passwords for clients, we take the utmost care to create the sort of password we believe in—one that helps to deter hackers. We urge you to do the same.

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