3 tips to improve your online passwords

Don\'t pick passwords with information hackers can easily find in public records. (Thinkstock)

WASHINGTON – If your go-to online password is “password,” it may be time to make a new one.

While online password managers can be effective, there are a few ways to crook-proof your online ID, said tech expert, Randy Abrams of security research firm NSS Labs.

He told the Los Angeles Times that there are reliable password managers, such as 1Password, LastPass or PasswordBox, but the best line of defense is to start with a good password.

Here are a few of Abrams’ tips:

  • Make it unique. A good master password should be at least 15 characters, and the more spaces, variation and exclamation points, the better. “Password” just won’t cut it. Unique phrases like “I love peanuts in salad” can be a jumping off point to an out-of-the-box password like “iLovepeanutZ insalaD!”
  • Lie on password reset questions. Online hackers can easily figure out your mother’s maiden name, your elementary school or the street you live on. The best mode of attack is to make up answers to those questions, and store the answers in a secure file.
  • Repeat.To remember the master password, repetition is helpful. Write down the password a dozen times a day for a week, that way it will be easier to recall when the time comes.

In 2012, “password” and “123456” topped the list of the most common online passwords.

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