For the scene.

SplashData compiles a list once a year of the worst passwords and even ranks them in order of the commonality of their use. Even if you don’t find your passwords among this list, maybe it’s time to make sure you’re keeping your online valuables safe. Follow these easy steps to generate a new, more secure, password

Step 1.  Make it a passphrase.

A single word, say the name of your first born child, is an easy thing to remember (good!) and guess (bad!). It’s also a matter of public record, which, as Sarah Palin can testify, leads to easier hacking.  We, along with many others, suggest using a passphrase instead. If your password is currently “lucy” make it more secure by adding something about Lucy.

Ex: “lucywassevenindecember2007”.

Step 2. Shorten it.

“lucywassevenindecember2007” is a bit cumbersome to type, and is still not completely unguessable or ungeneratable. You can keep some words the same, but change others to just their first letter or an abbreviation.

Ex: “lucywsevenid2007”

Step 3. Add numbers AND symbols.

Adding a number to your password is old news, so make sure your password also has symbols. We suggest substituting numbers and letters for a symbol that is somewhat reminiscent of said number and/or letter (so as not to confuse yourself) as well as making substitution of numbers for letters.

Ex: “lu<yw7i)2o0&”

Step 4. Add capitals.

Because anything that requires the “shift” key is trickier for humans and computers.

Ex: “Lu<yW7i)2o0&”

Once you’ve changed all your passwords, don’t forget to store your new (and decidedly harder to remember) passwords in a secure, but convenient place. The 1Password app is our personal favorite. And never, even on your own lap top, allow your browser to save your password for you unless you’re comfortable with Mr. Laptop Snatcher having access.

g0oD l#<K!

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