Advice Guide: How to create a strong password online

Passwords are the most common way to verify your identity online, and with online crime on the rise it has never been more important to protect yourself with strong passwords for every site you visit, whether you are using social media, online shopping, accessing emails or commenting on blogs.

73% of people use the same password for multiple sites, and 33% use the same one for every single site they visit. With most people using simple passwords (the average is only 6 characters long and all lowercase letters) and an amazing 5% of people simply using the word ‘password’ to protect themselves online, it isn’t surprising that an expert hacker can crack the average password in under 3 minutes.

To ensure you’re keeping safe online and protecting yourself from fraud, follow our tips below:

DON’T
• Use public information (your name, partners name, anniversary etc.)
• Use full single words – these are much easier to hack
• Use sequences or repeated characters (i.e. 12345, qwerty, aaaaa)
• Write your password down
• Use the same password for multiple sites

DO
• Use a mixture of lower and uppercase letters, numbers and symbols
• Make your password 8 characters or more
• Make sure it is something you’ll remember
• Set up a password recovery method such as via your mobile phone
• Change your password often – twice a year is recommended
• Check the strength of your password – Microsoft’s password checker can be found here

The Perfect Password

• Start with a sentence or two – ‘Complex passwords are safer’
• Remove spaces between words – ‘Complexpasswordsaresafer’
• Turn words into shorthand or intentionally misspell a word – ‘ComplekspasswordsRsafer’
• Add length with meaningful numbers after the sentence – ‘ComplekspasswordsRsafer2011′

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