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

    • Celebrities React to the Unexpected Death of Bill Paxton

      Actor Bill Paxton, who died on Saturday at the age of 61 due to complications from surgery, had racked up dozens of movie and TV credits in his more than 40 years in Hollywood. He had even more friends, many of whom shared tributes to him after the sad news broke on Sunday morning. Bill Paxton was, simply, a wonderful man. A wonderful man… Hanx.

      Yahoo Celebrity
    • Steph Curry leaves timeout huddle to help fan win $5,000

      During a timeout in Saturday’s Nets-Warriors game, Golden State had a little game show for a couple fans. Steph Curry was also sneaking by while this was happening, and when she rolled the third ball onto the ramp, he intercepted the ball and threw it into the $2,500 bucket. Curry ran back to the Warriors bench as if nothing happened, and when the announcer said they’re giving Carly the money, he raised his arms in excitement.

      SB Nation q
    • What's Happening Between Nicki Minaj And Remy Ma

      A day after Minaj released “Make Love,” which many believed had a slight reference to Remy Ma, the latter hit back with a seven-minute diss track.

      International Business Times
    • Chairs Fly as Wild Brawl Breaks out in New York City Restaurant

      The bar closed early Friday after a vicious, chair-throwing brawl broke out at the Bronx, New York, family restaurant the night before.

    • Donald Trump will not attend the White House Correspondents’ dinner

      In a news update: Donald Trump will not attend the White House Correspondents’ dinner. According to the president himself, this year’s dinner…

      Hello Giggles
    • S. Carolina law makes it tough to lower Confederate flags

      WALHALLA, S.C. (AP) — In the aftermath of the racially motivated Charleston church slayings in 2015, the Confederate flag was removed from the South Carolina Statehouse during an elaborate nationally televised ceremony.

      Associated Press
    • Transgender teenage wrestler wins Texas state championship

      Beggs, 17, and many of his opponents want him to wrestle against boys, but the transgender boy wrestled in the Texas championship for girls because of state sport regulations, which require athletes to compete according to birth gender. The wrestler, a junior at Trinity High School in the Dallas suburb of Euless, had a 52-0 record ahead of the weekend tournament and was favored to win the 110-pound weight class in the championship. In some of his first media comments since the story was widely reported, Beggs said "I wouldn't be here today if it weren't for my teammates," the Dallas Morning News reported on its website.

    • Warren Buffett just shared his best investment advice, and said the 'elite' have wasted $100 billion ignoring it

      Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway is out with its annual letter to shareholders. The letter...

      Business Insider
    • Latest: Donations top $1M for Kansas bar attack victims

      OLATHE, Kan. (AP) — The Latest on a deadly shooting at a Kansas bar that some witnesses said was racially motivated (all times local):

      Associated Press
    • Bill Paxton’s Life in Photos (14 photos)

      Emmy-nominated actor Bill Paxton died at the age of 61, PEOPLE confirmed. Here's a look back at his life in photos.

    • Dwyane Wade missed a triple double by 1 rebound because his 'teammate didn't want him to be great'

      Dwyane Wade was not happy about this one. Dwyane Wade was one rebound away from a triple double as the Bulls-Cavaliers came to an end. Cristiano Felicio takes away Dwyane Wade's triple double On Court interview with Wade included.

      SB Nation q
    • Meghan Markle Back In Toronto After Romantic Break With Prince Harry

      The couple has been in a long-distance relationship, with the actress making frequent visits to Europe to spend time with the British royal.

      International Business Times
    • Jamie Benn and David Backes turned an opening NHL puck drop into a fight

      That was quick! #StarSunday— NHL on NBC (@NHLonNBCSports) February 26, 2017David Backes and Jamie Benn have a well-documented history of fighting each other, back when Backes played for the St. Louis Blues. Backes plays for the Boston Bruins now, but that doesn’t mean he won’t fight Benn again. At the start of Sunday’s Bruins-Dallas Stars game, as the puck dropped, Backes and Benn dropped their gloves and sticks and got into it, like old WWE rivals who haven’t seen each other in a while. ...

      SB Nation q 59 min ago
    • Hmm, maybe this is why Trump doesn't want to attend the White House Correspondents' Dinner

      On Saturday, Donald Trump made history as only the third president to bow out of the White House Correspondents' Dinner. And while this has much to do with Trump's ever-worsening battle with the press and his constant struggle to book talent, it's also worth remembering that, to be frank, Trump probably has another reason for ditching: He usually gets clobbered at these things. So, in the interest of, uh, elucidation, please enjoy these videos of Trump getting roasted at the 2011 and 2016 White House Correspondents' Dinner. Better yet, enjoy Trump's mirthless reactions. They're uncomfortable to watch, but extremely worth it. SEE ALSO: An exclusive look at Donald Trump's Twitter drafts for Oscar night First, here's President Obama clapping back at Trump's relentless "birther" conspiracy-mongering. The Lion King is involved. Next, observe Seth Meyers insisting that Trump must be running for president as a "joke." Trump does not smile. And here's Obama ripping on The Apprentice.  Finally, here's a delightful compilation of all the best Trump burns from the 2016 dinner.  A Larry Wilmore highlight: "Yeah, Trump's campaign is inspiring ... mass violence." (Trump did not attend that one, BTW.) So, there you have it. While we're not sure about the future of this year's event, we'll always have those stunners to fall back on.  And you can always zoom in on this cursed image while listening to "Sound of Silence." Image: Youtube/C-Span BONUS: Jordan Peele reacts to 'Get Out' as Barack Obama: 'Surrounded by white people! Not fun'

    • 8-year-old fatally shot in Houston after car crash

      An 8-year-old girl was fatally shot following a car crash in Houston, Texas, early Saturday morning, police said.

      ABC News q
    • Robert De Niro snaps at wife for 'spending all my money'

      Trouble is brewing over Grace Hightower’s coffee company. We’re told that her husband, Robert De Niro — who is a major investor in the firm — is steamed because the 5-year-old Grace Hightower & Coffees of Rwanda brand is turning into a money pit. The New York Post reports that Hightower has frustrated business associates — as well as the legendary actor — by dithering over simple decisions, and “changing her mind about how to run the business depending on who she spoke to last.” A source tells the paper that, in a moment of frustration, De Niro boiled over while bickering with Hightower in public at a Manhattan bar, telling her, “I wouldn’t have to keep making s - - tty movies if you didn’t spend

      Fox News q
    • The mistake that caused Warren Buffett to lose $6 billion

      “Today, I would rather prep for a colonoscopy than issue Berkshire shares,” writes Warren Buffett in his latest letter to Berkshire Hathaway (BRK-A, BRK-B) shareholders. “I earlier described our gradual shift from a company obtaining most of its gains from investment activities to one that grows in value by owning businesses,” Buffett writes. “Launching that transition, we took baby steps — making small acquisitions whose impact on Berkshire’s profits was dwarfed by our gains from marketable securities.

      Yahoo Finance
    • Best dog ever waits for this girl every day after school, and OMG can we pet him, too?

      Dogs are just the best things ever. Sure, cats are nice and everything, but sometimes cats are mean. Dogs are never mean….

      Hello Giggles
    • Titanic star Bill Paxton dies aged 61 after 'complications from surgery' 

      American actor Bill Paxton, who starred in Hollywood blockbusters including Titanic and Apollo 13, has died aged 61.

      The Telegraph
    • Alex Rodriguez and Anne Wojcicki Have Called It Quits: Report

      Alex Rodriguez and Anne Wojcicki are reportedly no longer an item. According to Page Six, the retired Yankees legend, 41, and his entrepreneur girlfriend have called their relationship off after having been together just short of a year. “They were an unusual couple, from very different backgrounds, but they are both smart business people, and had quite a few things in common, including a fascination with the tech world,” a source told the outlet.