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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.

Comments

THIS IS GOOD INFORMATION. I HAVE ALL PASS WORDS STORED WITH A PASSWORD MANAGER AND A REALLY STRONG PASSWORD TO GET INTO IT THAT ONLY I KNOW, NOT WRITTEN ANYWHERE. KEEP THESE GOOD E/MAILS COMING. THANKS TO THE FTC FOR YOUR GOOD WORK.

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.

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.

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.

WHAT COLOR WAS YOUR FIRST CAR: Fido
WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE COLOR: Steak
WHAT HIGH SCHOOL DID YOU GRADUATE: Baseball

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

I LOVE THIS TIP!!!! THANK YOU.

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

I LIVE FOR GOOD INFO TO PROTECT & SERVE MY.....IDENTITY!

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

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.? * % $ # ! _).

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 will alert the media.

I want to change my password

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.

change password

change pass word

excellent and useful information

Want to change passwords

changing a password should be easier

too complicated

Read above article. They suggest a password manager

I store all my names & passwords in an "MS word" file and pasword protect it there..It is impossible to crack or do anything with this type of file..(I really tried ..just to check it out!)

I store my passwords in Word on a flash drive. I use long, complex PWs and copy and paste them into sign on. Then I disconnect the flash drive. Saves me typing a lot of @#*()+?, And does not take much time to use. I am suspicious of password protected files because the hackers are smarter than me, and that way they only have to hack one PW.

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