Digital Crave

We know all your passwords (so create better ones)

Digital Crave

View photo

.

Identity theft isn't anything new — be it a pickpocket on the street, a crooked waiter copying down credit card info at a restaurant or someone looking over your shoulder to see your PIN at a bank machine.

Increasingly, however, identity thieves are find it easier online, sending out "phishing" scams, Trojan viruses or other high-tech means to retrieve information you type on a public computer's keyboard.

Reduce the risk by creating good passwords for all your online activity and managing them all in a smart way.

Create a solid password

The first line of defense is creating a strong password, whether it's to unlock your computer or smartphone, protect your wireless network or log in to websites, such as your online banking site.

First things first: Don't use common passwords like, er, "password" or "letmein" or "123456." Also resist using your phone number, kid's or pet's name or birthdate as each of these can easily be guessed by malicious types.

Instead, a strong password is at least seven characters long — though some experts say even longer -- and should contain a combination of letters (some uppercase), numbers and symbols.

Alternatively, some people use a string of words together to make it easier to remember, such as "littleredridinghood" or "brassmonkeyfunky." As password like this is much easier to remember than something like "J7e&j!sxL."

If using a public computer at a library or airport lounge, be sure you don't accidentally click "Remember my password" as the next person who sites down — and checks their Gmail, for instance — might see all of your confidential messages.

Speaking of Gmail, if it's offered, use two-step authentication, such as opting for Google to text you a short verification code to gain entrance to a service; you can also download and install the Google Authenticator app on your iPhone, Android or BlackBerry. Many other companies are using two-step authentication, as well.

While we know it's a drag, be sure to also lock your smartphone with a PIN, password or gesture. Facial recognition apps, such as what's in the new Android 4.0 ("Ice Cream Sandwich") platform can often be fooled by holding up a photo of the person to gain entry.

Managing all your passwords

Because you use passwords for so many different things today — and it's not recommended to use the same password for everything, for obvious reasons — there are a couple of ways to manage your passwords.

You could use a password manager on your computer or mobile device. An app called SplashID Safe ($10 to $30, depending on the version), for example, requires you to remember one single master password -- and then you can access all of your other passwords organized by type and category. The password manager can then even log you into websites so you don't have to type usernames and passwords over and over again.

If you don't want to go that route, you could come up with a system to better remember passwords for each of your online accounts. You can do this by adding a relevant letter to the front, middle or end of the password -- such as "B" for banking, "S" for shopping, "F" for Facebook or "D" for an online dating site.

Change up your passwords every couple of months, if not sooner than that, to keep malicious types on their toes.

Never share your password. A 2011 survey found tweens and teens frequently give out their passwords to friends and don't change it after they've had a falling out.

Sorry you didn't like this comment. Please provide a reason below.

Are you sure?
Rating failed. Try again.
Request failed. Try again.
We will promote constructive and witty comments to the top, so everyone sees them!
Sorry, we can’t load comments right now. Try again.

    Recommended for You

    • Christina El Moussa faces fans fury for 'inappropriate' bikini photo with daughter: 'What mother does this?'

      Flip Or Flop co-host Christina El Moussa has landed in hot water over a recent Instagram picture. Fans of the reality TV star flipped after she shared a bikini-clad picture with her seven-year-old daughter Taylor, and took to the picture-sharing site to criticise her "sickening ways". "Welcome to the family!!" the El Moussa matriarch had captioned the adorable picture celebrating the arrival of the newest member of the family – a French bulldog named Cashie.

      International Business Times
    • Ask Amy: My husband told me to ‘get over it,’ so here’s my plan

      DEAR AMY: I have been married for 33 years. I love my husband, but I have totally enabled him — to the point where I am now feeling abused. For instance, this morning, he was in a minor car accident. Through my business relationships, I have an excellent contact in the repair business, and so I kindly took his car in, gave him mine to use in the interim and picked up the rental. I asked him to drive the rental so I could have my car back, and he refused. I told him I felt used. He basically said I should get over it. Because of my family background and decades of behaving this way, I am now at the point where I feel incredibly put upon because of all of the expectations, as well as the total

      MercuryNews.com q
    • Rachel Dolezal struggles after racial identity scandal

      SPOKANE, Wash. (AP) — A white civil rights leader, fired because she led others to believe she was black, said she struggles to make a living these days because she was portrayed as a fraud.

      Associated Press
    • Reese Witherspoon Photos with Kids Ava and Deacon (7 photos)

      Reese Witherspoon Photos with Kids Ava and Deacon

      People
    • LaVar Ball Crying Jordan memes and trolling surface after UCLA's loss to Kentucky

      As soon as LaVar Ball, the loud-mouthed father of UCLA star Lonzo Ball, started tearing up during UCLA’s eventual 86-75 loss to Kentucky on Friday, fans had to know that the memes were coming. Almost time to get those LaVar Ball crying jordan memes out

      The Dagger
    • Charles Barkley says if he was dying, he’d kill Skip Bayless on live TV

      This is a real thing: Charles Barkley said on the Dan Patrick show that should he ever fall terminally ill and approach death knowingly, he would happily kill angry, opinionated and oft-inflammatory TV personality Skip Bayless.

      Sports Illustrated
    • Wife does too much and receives too little

      Dear Amy: I have been married for 33 years. I love my husband, but I have totally enabled him — to the point where I am now feeling abused. For instance, this morning, he was in a minor car accident. Through my business relationships, I have an excellent contact in the repair business, and so I kindly took his car in, gave him mine to use in the interim and picked up the rental. I asked him to drive the rental so I could have my car back, and he refused. I told him I felt used. He basically said I should get over it. Because of my family background and decades of behaving this way, I am now at the point where I feel incredibly put upon because of all of the expectations, as well as the total

      Chicago Tribune q
    • Ivanka Trump’s Secret Service detail roiling her D.C. neighbors

      Ivanka Trump’s neighbors delivered a handwritten note welcoming her to their gilded Northwest Washington Zip code after she and her husband, Jared Kushner, moved from New York with their three young children. When the president’s daughter did not respond, Rhona Friedman, a lawyer who lives next door, understood. Ivanka was busy settling in, she figured. But Friedman and other neighbors were far less patient when two “No Parking” signs appeared outside the Trump-Kushner house and Secret Service SUVs began swallowing spots on Tracy Place NW, their block in the Kalorama neighborhood. Their exasperation peaked Monday when city workers installed two additional “No Parking” signs — not in front of

      Washington Post q
    • This woman wins Mom of the Year award for her response to her daughter’s failing math grade

      Moms have been around since the dawn of time but they still manage to surprise us with their heroism. For example, when…

      Hello Giggles
    • ‘Flip or Flop’ Star Christina El Moussa Blasted for ‘Completely Inappropriate’ Mother-Daughter Bikini Photo

      Things didn’t go all that swimmingly on Christina El Moussa’s Instagram account this week. The “Flip or Flop” star came under fire after posting a photo of herself and her young daughter Taylor in bikinis on Thursday. Oh, and there was a French bulldog involved, too.

      The Wrap
    • Astronaut who walked on moon says he knows the truth about aliens

      He was an astronaut on the second manned mission to the moon and the fourth man to walk on its surface. Alan Bean, 85, is one of only 12 people to have taken “one small step for man and one giant leap for mankind” on the moon. The lunar module pilot was one of three crew members onboard Apollo 12 who walked on the moon 10 days after it launched on Nov. 14, 1969. The crew’s primary mission objectives included an extensive series of lunar exploration tasks by the lunar module and the deployment of the Apollo Lunar Surface Experiments Package to be left on the moon’s surface to gather seismic, scientific and engineering data. Bean has logged 1,671 hours and 45 minutes in space — 10 hours and 26

      New York Post q
    • 94-Year-Old Woman Has Worked at McDonald's for 44 Years - and She Eats It Every Shift

      Loraine Maurer, 94, Has Been Working at McDonalds for 44 Years

      People
    • Mariah Carey Goes Braless in Sheer Lace-Up Dress While Out: Pic!

      She enjoyed a solo night out on Thursday.

      Entertainment Tonight
    • After President So Much Winning!’ Trump Takes a Dive on Health Care Vote, Internet Calls Him a 'Loser'

      After President Trump Takes a Dive on Health Care Vote, Internet Calls Him a Loser

      People
    • I saved $100,000 on a salary of just $30,000 a year—here are my top 5 money-saving tips

      After minimizing bad choices and maximizing good fortune, I was able to buy an apartment in NYC.

      CNBC.com q
    • This is the secret to unclogging sinks and drains anywhere in your house

      Okay, first things first: there is no miracle product that instantly clears any and every clogged drain. If it sounds too good to be true, it is. Do you really think you pour some liquid down the drain in your sink and miraculously clear a fist-sized ball of hair in a matter of minutes? Newsflash... there's not. If you have a very bad clog, you need to snake your drain. It's the only way to handle it. To clear normal clogs and gross odors that happen during the course of normal wear and tear though, these is a secret to unclogging drains and keeping things smelling fresh: Sani Sticks . Drop one of these sticks down your drain to take care of average clogs and embarrassing odors in a matter of hours. Then, drop a new stick down each drain once every month to prevent clogs and odors in the future. Each stick includes enzymes and other ingredients found in a septic tank to break down waste and keep things clear. $17 gets you a pack of 48 Sani Sticks, and it'll be the best $17 you've ever spent. Some highlights from the product page: Sani Sticks drain sticks eliminate embarrassing odors from drains and prevent clogged sinks Save money on plumbers and drain snakes as powerful enzymes break down oil and grease to keep drains free and clear Sani Sticks drain deodorizer and cleaners are thin, round and only 6.3 inches long and 100 percent safe for plumbing and septic tanks with no toxic chemicals Avoid embarrassing smells and nasty water buildup in sinks and showers with just one Sani Stick per month Keep your drains clean and odor-free, all year long with Sani Sticks as part of your cleaning supplies

      BGR News
    • Op-Ed: Trump and the GOP should face it: There's only one option left to fix health care

      Ryan will never convince conservatives to play ball on health care. Here's his only option, says consultant Robert Laszewski.

      CNBC.com q
    • Watch new Justice League trailer online: Will Superman be resurrected in the DC movie promo?

      Warner Bros is set to release a brand new trailer for the Justice League movie on Saturday (25 March). The superhero flick will see some of the greatest comic book heroes in DCEU join forces to save the world against an unknown threat. Interestingly, the studio has chosen 25 March – the day when Batman vs Superman: Dawn Of Justice was released – for unveiling the much-anticipated second trailer of the Justice League movie.

      International Business Times
    • ‘Flip Or Flop’ Star Christina El Moussa Gets New Boyfriend: Report

      The couple has reportedly been dating for "about a month."

      International Business Times
    • Cop calls scammer back; awkward exchange goes viral

      "He is a trained professional – do not try this at home"

      CBS News q