CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - Do you use the same user ID and password for everything you do online?
It makes it easier to remember, but puts you in jeopardy if someone is able to figure out what your password is and can then get in to all of your email accounts, protected websites, even your online banking system.
Expert Theresa Payton is Protecting Your Cyberturf by showing us how to create strong passwords.
She's included the information below to help. Plus, in the accompanying video, she also defines our word of the week: "honeypot".
Helpful Hints for Creating a Strong Password
A strong password will help you add protection and STOP others from accessing your accounts by guessing your password.
Use the STOP Tips:
S: Special characters such as exclamation points and numbers
- Avoid using personal information. (Examples: Any part of your name, address, high school, birthday, Social Security number, pet names.)
- Avoid using sequences. (Examples: "12345" or "ABCDE" or "AAA" or "Password")
- If your web site supports it, try to use special characters and/or mixing upper and lower case. (Examples: @, $, &, *)
T: Think of a phrase and pick the first letter of each word to build your base password
- Longer passwords are preferred, at least 8 characters
O: One time - only use each password on one account
- Create a different password for each of the different sites you visit
P: Protect your password, never write it down and leave it next to your computer, never give it out via an email or over the phone
- If you cannot remember your passwords, consider writing them down and keeping them in a home safe that you keep locked
- Never leave them on a post it note next to your PC
Sample Password Using STOP Cybercriminal tips,
- Using the phrase: Fall-beautiful leaves and yummy apples. (Ex. fblaya) Combined with the other rules it becomes: F-Bl1&9Ya@
If you would like to test the strength of your password try the Microsoft site's free online password checker at: www.microsoft.com/protect/yourself/password/checker.mspx.