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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

I want to change password

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.

Good to know

What assurance is there that a password manager account cannot be hacked?

Also, good advice about not using easy to find answers for security questions, but frequently the only choices you have are only for security questions that have those easy to find answers! So what choice do you have?

You can use answers that have nothing to do with the question. For example, "What was the color of your first car?" BEAN TACO., "What city were you born in?" VACUUM CLEANER. The only problem would be remembering those answers.

I read it

i want a new password. how?

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I want to update my existing password.

Thanks

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I forgot my password I have enter one to many times now it want let me change by password how can I reset my password on line

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good ideas

Got my # by phone and entered it and my new password but the message said, wrong and I could not remember the number to try again.

You say comments are optional, but you won’t let me out w/I a comment?????

How do I change my pass word?

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How do I change phone number to send code?

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This is my first password change.

Ive found that security question are a great oppurtunity for obfuscation, meaning making really easy questions like mother's maiden name, zip code your born in... but giving false answers so if for some reason there is a real motivated intruder then your answers would be even harder for them to figure out.

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How do I change my password?

I need to change my user name and password

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