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Advanced password tips and tricks

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Time to create another password? Make it a secure one. A little extra attention when you create a strong password can prevent an attacker from getting access to your account.

Your password should be long, complex, and unique. Here are additional steps you can take to help create strong passwords and secure your accounts: 

  • Avoid common words, phrases, or information. Don’t use information available to others like your birthday, phone number, or Social Security number. Attackers often use a dictionary of previously exposed passwords and information gathered from the internet to help them guess a password.
  • Change passwords quickly if there is a breach. Attackers who steal data from companies often obtain password information. If you receive a notification from a company about a possible breach, change that password and any account that uses a similar password immediately.
  • Consider a password manager. Most people have trouble keeping track of all their passwords. Consider storing your passwords and security questions in a password manager, an easy-to-access application that allows you store all your valuable password information in one place. Use a strong password to secure the information in your password manager. 

What about security questions? If you forget your password, many companies require you to answer security questions to regain access. Here are some tips to make sure an attacker can’t use your security questions as a way to get into your account: 

  • Select security questions where only you know the answer. Many security questions ask for answers to information available in public records or online, like your zip code, mother’s maiden name, birth place. That is information a motivated attacker can obtain.
  • Don’t use answers to security questions that can be guessed. An attacker can guess the answer to a security question that has a limited number of responses (dates, colors, states, countries). Avoid questions like “What state were you born in?” or “What color was your first car?” which allow an attacker to guess all possible answers.
  • Don’t give a generic answer to a security question. Find an answer to a security question that you will remember but is also more complicated than a generic word. For example, if the security question asks “What is your favorite childhood memory?” the answer “watching the Dodgers with my mom” is more secure than “baseball.”

Like these tips? Then check out more FTC information about computer security.



Probably best to write them down, I mean to store passwords online so that a online hacker can't get to them? Kind of defeats the purpose, though I do allow browsers to store mines to make it easier to sign in but all are on paper.

I completely agree and feel exactly the same. I don't see how storing your personal passwords over the internet or app or whatever it may be could possibly be a good idea to not get hacked. I feel like these online stores passwords would be a hackers dream and now the first place they will try to look...

I agree, if usually people hacking are expert on technology and software to steal information, how and app software developed is safe, I believe it will be more easier for a hacker, to find out all the information in one place.

This is good information to know. I will be changing my password ASAP.

I agree, if usually people hacking are expert on technology and software to steal information, how and app software developed is safe, I believe it will be easier for a hacker, to find out all the information in one place.

Mamie Mills I feel the exactly the way and will used a more powerful password right now. Thank you information was useful.

I will quit browsing over internet. Its many years gone no real benefit I got from those years. I will be a mad person if I continue more year. I already lost many years and many earning money I already lost from 2004 to 2015, and I think I will be lost more year and money lost. Thank you.

I am an adult and trying to create an account but getting a message that I can because I'm underage. How do I get past this?

Being unable to create and account is not enough detail to give advice. I have been using the Internet as long as it has existed, but my age has never been an issue. Of course being in my late 80s, I would not be considered too young. If you know who the 2nd president of the US was, you know my name.

Helpful suggestions....

Along the lines of "not answering security questions that can be easily guessed", you can change things up a little.


Things like this make it harder for the bad guys to guess ... just so long as you don't forget your answers!


I also love the responses you gave. will use next time I need such, but nolt the ones you gave!!

love the way you said to create a password would really throw hackers off love it gonna use it nex time i use a security question thanks love the it great knowledge

I'm not very savvy with all of this tech stuff but I'm learning more and more thanks to my mind that hasn't stop working yet but man of man sometimes I do need variable help from a true person and someone who isn't plastic as all hell like what people are turning into !!!!!!!!!!

WOW! Never heard of that one. I don't know how to respond to the article but something that I often hear is Start and end with letters. There are more of them.

Excellent Idea. I really like that one

Wow.. good one

Good idea

Excellent idea. I’m going to be busy changing a lot of answers. Thanks for the tip.

This is exactly what I do, usu an inside joke or something so the answer is way off base but easy to remember and/or I write it down in a notebook that stays home so I won't forget & I'll never be worried about someone getting ahold of it!


I'd like to use some of your posts in our newsletter to help our clients be more proactive in protecting themselves. How do I get permission for re-posting some of your great content?

The FTC encourages you to share our resources with your  friends, family, co-workers, and neighbors. There are many ways to let others know about the FTC, and about making smart choices when they shop: share tips, blog posts, use your social networking skills, or, order free publications to hand out at events or conferences — or just to give out in your community.

Here are a few other ways to share:

Like most people, I have lots of passwords. But unlike most, I have them in a password-protected Word file. So now I only need to remember one password; the one to open that file!

What happens if a dedicated hacker breaks through to you password-protected word file? I prefer to keep a written copy where only I will be able to find it - especially, since we must redo passwords quite often.

I agree but then worried about a house fire burning up my written copy. I bought a fire safe and another address book to keep an extra copy of my written passwords in. I keep the fire safe in a different location from my house. If it gets stolen..... :(

I was able to unlock a password-protected Word file. The instructions were easy to find. I would store them elsewhere if I were you.

I keep mine in a file on my phone, then screen shot it so it saves to my Dropbox. As I change them, I update that list. I use variations of my childhoood nickname for my user name and a combo of my grand kids names with a character or number added. Nothing is spelled out completely and I only use a hint such as "3 name combo" and whatever I added at the end, as a reminder. No possibility of anyone ever guessing.

thank you

Another trick for making a complex password is to use the first (or last) letter or two of a sentence you can remember, including the symbols (i.e.? * % $ # ! _).

Except if you use that same letter, symbol, etc sequence in every password, once someone gets one password, they can guess that that sequence may be in other passwords putting them back at the same spot as all other hackers.

Have recorded password on 4/29/17, now it will not respond

great blog and nice one

My temporary password does not work

I want to change my password

It is helpful.

Thank you for your help.

You have given me a lot of ideas for picking a number.

I can’t sign in my account

Make sure it wasn't hacked. Mine was a credit card co who called me to ask if I changed my info..I did not. Fraud was discovered.

change user name and password

want change

I am tired of having my acct messed up since Harvey!

I want to change my password

I want to change my password

I want to change my password for my email

Need to change my username and password.

How do you change your password? I have not been able to find anyplace on your site to change anything.


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