With more and more of us shifting everyday tasks—banking, education, social interaction, even shopping for groceries—to the virtual world, securing our personal information has become more important than ever. One of the simplest ways to help protect our financial and other info from prying eyes and would-be identity thieves is to use a strong password. Yet many people take a decidedly casual approach to choosing a password, with potential disastrous results.
Having your password compromised is no laughing matter. More than half a million hackers have a go at cracking Facebook passwords every single day. In an effort to protect its users, the site gives specific tips for protecting both your Facebook account and any financial information you may have saved on the site—unsurprisingly, choosing a strong password is high on the list.
So what constitutes the “perfect” password? If you’re serious about security, a strong password will include a mix of upper and lower case letters, numbers, symbols, and even non-keyboard characters. It will be unique (using the same password for everything might be common, but it’s also spectacularly unsafe). It’s also greater than eight characters in length, contains arbitrary phrases made using numbers and letters (e.g., “b4D P4S$W0Rd”), but no complete words. And no matter how secure your password is, it’s made more secure by changing it regularly.