According to a recent study published in December by SplashData more than 5 million passwords were compromised by hacks last year. Too many were woefully inadequate, including "123456" and "password," which were the top two most commonly used.
Follow these simple rules to protect yourself and your information:
- Don't use personal information in your password: Avoid using the names of your children, pets, spouse, street address, or anything else that can be guessed by a cursory glance at your Facebook profile.
- Make it memorable, but not simple: Save yourself a hassle and use a long and strong password you're able to remember.
- Use longer passwords mixed with letters and numbers and symbols: A hacker can run millions of possible passwords in less than a second, meaning that a short password consisting of just letters is easy prey. Each additional character you add to your password exponentially increases the difficulty of cracking it.
- Don't re-use your passwords: Using the same password on multiple accounts is the equivalent of giving hackers a skeleton key to your identity.
- Use two-factor authentication: While linking your account logins to a mobile phone isn't infallible, it does give you an extra bit of protection in case your password is compromised.