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Friday, 15 March 2013 14:42

Is this your password? Change it.

Written by  Beth Braverman, CNN
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(Money Magazine)

For your account passwords or personal identification numbers, easy-to-recall codes are way too easy for others to guess.

Yet the most popular passwords are "123456" and, yes, "password," reports app developer SplashData.

One in 10 four-digit PINs is "1234," according to consulting firm Data Genetics. Says president Nick Berry, "It's staggering, people's lack of imagination."

Go big and random: Longer passwords are harder to hack.

Avoid actual words, years, and calendar dates; instead, devise memorable nonsense from abbreviated sentences. "The best TV show was Sanford and Son," for example, becomes "TbTVswS&S."

Store codes in the free, multi-device app Dashlane.

Don't repeat: Never reuse a password for sensitive accounts such as banks, email, or social media.

You can, however, recycle a password for sites that don't store your personal info, such as Internet radio stations or online publications.

Tell lies: To keep people from guessing your password-reset questions -- that's how Scarlett Johansson's e-mail got hacked -- go crazy.

"Tell them your mother's maiden name is Superman," says Adam Levin, chairman of IDentity Theft 911. But now that he's said that, pick another name.

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