Getting an Email Account

How to pick a “password”

Your password is the only thing keeping hackers out of your personal information so you want to create a strong password that you can remember but scammers can never guess. Here are some hints to help:

1. Do not use the word “Password.” Or any variation such as Password1, MYpassword, etc.

2. Do not use sequential numbers or letters. For example, do not use 123456, qwerty, jklmopq, 456789, etc.

3. Do not include your birth year or birth month/day in your password. Remember that scammers can easily find this kind of information by snooping. 

4. Use a combination of at least eight letters, numbers, and symbols. The longer your password and the more character variety it uses, the harder it is to guess. For example, Un1T3d@1Rl1n3S? uses a unique combination of upper- and lowercase letters, numbers, and symbols. (it can be remembered by unitedairlines?)

5. Combine different unrelated words in your password or passphrase. This practice makes it difficult for hackers to guess your password. Do not use phrases from popular songs, movies, or television shows. Use three or four longer words to create your passphrase. For example, sK1Ll3dR0(k3773Ch41c1@4 (it can be remembered by skilledrockettechnician)

6. Do not use names or words found in the dictionary. Substitute letters with numbers or symbols to make it difficult to guess the password. Or deliberately use spelling errors in the password or passphrase. For example, P8tty0G#5dn for “patio garden.”

7. Do not include the following information

    • Your pet’s name.
    • Your birthday or that of family members.
    • Any words related to your hobby, job, or interests.
    • Part of your home address, including city/town, street, house/apartment number, or country.
    • Your name or the name of a family member.

Cyber criminals research their victims online, looking for clues that can help them hack your password. And they will use any clues about you, where you live, your interests, and your family to guess your password strategically.

8. Use a password generator. There are many “password generators” on the Internet. The problem with these are that the passwords can be very hard to remember.

If you would like to try a password generator, tap this link that will open a password generator in a new tab. Close that tap to return to this tutorial.  

Keep all this in mind as you create a password that you can remember but ALSO to develop a password that is so unusual, with such a variety of characters, that hacking that password becomes a nearly impossible chore.

Finally, if you have an idea for a password (or would like to test a password you already use), you can test how strong it is with an online “password checker.” You can tap this link to open a new tab with a “password checker” to see how strong it is. Close that tab to get back to this tutorial.