Help for getting passwords under control
Cyber thieves are always looking for a new scam to steal your personal data. One of the best ways to protect yourself online is using strong passwords. But who can remember all of those passwords?
One solution is using a password manager. Consumer Reports tested one called LastPass that keeps all of your passwords in one place and says it's a good option. LastPass saves your login ID and password for websites you've told it to. And the next time you go to that website, it fills it in for you.
LastPass stores your personal information in its secure online vault, and any communications between that vault and your computer are encrypted so that it makes it effectively unreadable, even to a hacker.
You can download the service free for use on your computer, or if you want the $12 per year premium service, you'll get access to LastPass on all of your mobile devices.
But some people are too afraid to put their passwords in the hands of someone else.
So another option is to create easy-to-remember, hard-to-crack passwords yourself.
A more secure password has at least nine characters and has a combination of letters, numbers, and symbols. You can use a core password that's easy to remember, then put characters ahead of it and after it to vary it for different websites. So, for example, your core could be B@seball9, then for Amazon your password could be B@seball9AZ and for Facebook your password could be B@seball9FB.
Despite all the warnings about security breaches and having strong passwords- the password management company SplashData says the worst password is the easy-to-guess 1-2-3-4-5, which tops the list of the 25 most common passwords used. The word "password" comes in at number 2.
You should also avoid ordinary dictionary words. Consumer Reports says hackers can easily crack those using software that tries out just about every word there is.