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Passwords

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a professional man uses a long password to open an oversize lock

A strong password is your first line of defense against hacking. On the other hand, a weak password makes your private data extremely vulnerable. Here's what we recommend to ensure your safety on all your personal accounts:

Strength = Variety x Length


The shorter you make your passwords, the more complex they need to be to resist a brute-force hacking attempt. In fact, passwords shorter than 8 characters aren't safe at all, no matter the situation. Use the guidelines below to help you decide how much variety (symbols, letters, and mixed-case letters) you need in your passwords.

# of Characters

8-11 12-15 16-19 20+

Types of Characters

Use symbols, mixed-case letters, and numbers Use mixed-case letters and numbers Use mixed-case letters Use whatever you want

Example

C0ug@rZ47 CouGar1847CooL CouGarCooLestCast cougarcoolestcatsnack

Creating a Long Password

Since longer passwords don’t have to include as many special characters to be strong, one excellent starting point for making a password is to pick four random words and simply type them out together. For example,

"gollyherbertstickmonkey"

You can also go one step further by thinking of a personal memory or story that can be simplified into a passphrase. For example, the story “my dad bought me Tillamook ice cream for memorizing the U.S. capital cities” could become the following passphrase:

"tillamookmemorizecapital50"

Password Managers


Password managers are third-party applications that encrypt and store passwords for you—either ones you've made, or auto-generated passwords that are highly hacker-resistant. You only need to remember one password to access the others your password manager keeps—but follow the tips on this page to make it a strong one, just in case!

Popular password managers include LastPass , Keeper , Sticky Password , and Dashlane . Always do your research before choosing a password manager.

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