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How to boost password security: 3 tips to follow

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News regarding a Russian hacker ring stealing billions of username and password combinations likely has more than a few people wondering how secure their own computer, app and mobile device passwords really are.

So to help consumers in the quest to better secure data, here are just a few tips to ensure device and desktops, as well as online account sites, boast strong password security.

1. Use a combination of uppercase and lowercase letters, as well as numbers and symbols

Using a combination of lowercase letters, capital letters, numbers and symbols is a great way to ensure that online data is better protected. While some websites do not use case-sensitive passwords, more and more do. Things like substituting the letter "O" for 0 and using a dollar sign for the letter "s" also make passwords stronger. For example, using "pAs$w0Rd" is much more safe than simply using "password," which leads perfectly to the next point.

2. Do not use "password," "admin" or "1234"

This should be a no-brainer. In fact, there is a strong argument for not using a word that is in the dictionary, as there is software that can be programmed to go through a list of known words. Good ideas for creating passwords that are not in the dictionary include breaking up a password by putting numbers in the middle of it, and using the first letters of an entire sentence.

3. Never reuse passwords

This one can be tricky for users, and is often overlooked, especially in this digital age where someone may have hundreds of online accounts. There are some exceptions to this rule. For example, some websites require users to "create an account to read the rest of the story," or something similar. Passwords can be reused in these kinds of situations as long as they do not unlock things like credit cards or access to message boards. Another exception is when users can "log in using Facebook." This is an exception because of the fact that technically a password is not being reused. Instead, a website is borrowing another website's login system. If a user does decide to log in to accounts using other websites passwords, it's even more important to ensure that the password being used is secure.

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