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Password overload

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CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) -

Are you overwhelmed by all of your passwords?  Do you secretly just default it to something you can remember and just hope that cybercreeps don't find you?  If you said yes, a recent study says that you are not alone.  The top 3 passwords so far this year are:

1.  "password," 2.  "123456," and 3.  "12345678."

The list of the top 25 worst passwords of the year was recently released and where did they get that data from?  They looked at stolen passwords that cyber creeps and hackers posted online.  Making passwords that are strong and different is hard.  WBTV's cyber expert, Theresa Payton, says it's like leaving your front door or car door unlocked.  You might not get hit but if the bad guys come to your neighborhood, why make it easy on them?  Here's her advice:

1.  TOO MANY PASSWORDS

I get this complaint often:  " When I create a "strong" password, I can never remember it. Do you have some tips? "

Answer:  Yes!  A great way to create a strong password that you can remember is to use a phrase that represents how you feel when you log onto that website.  Translate the first letter of each word into a letter or number. Have fun with it!

Example: email keeps me in touch with loved ones

Ekmitw<31s        Note:  <3 is a heart

2.  STILL CAN'T KEEP THEM STRAIGHT?

I get asked this often:  "Is it okay to write them down, or store them on my computer or phone, or to use a password vault service?"

Answer:  this is a personal preference.   Here are some tips regarding writing them down or using electronic storage for passwors.

(a) Writing them down:  If you need to write them down, don't completely spell out what every password matches back to for your accounts. Also, don't store your password book near the computer. Lock it in a safe when you are not using it.

(b) Electronic file:  Do not put them in an electronic file that you store on your computer or on your phone.  Even if you "hide" the file by calling it something else,  that is a lot like locking the door and leaving the key under the mat, you might be okay or someone might find it. 

(c ) Password vaults:  For some individuals,  you may decide you would like to use a password vault. We have tested several but some of the best ones were really meant for techies and are not easy to use. However, a few options are on the market that might work for you. As with every service, ask the provider questions:  how do you protect me?  If there is a breach, how soon will you notify me and what method (a letter, phone, email or all of the above)?  If you go out of business, where does that leave me?

There are many packages to choose from and you should read the features and reviews before picking one that is right for you.  To get you started, some options that you might want to explore are:

Norton identity safe (free), last pass (free for basic version),  dashlane (free), Trend Micro DirectPass, RoboForm, and MyLOK .

WEB RESOURCES:

Remember to do your research first before selecting the tool that best fits your personal needs.

Norton identity safe (free) 

last pass (free for basic version) 

dashlane (free): 

Trend Micro DirectPass

RoboForm 

MyLOK

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