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Effective Passwords

Your identity is one of your most valuable resources. That is one reason why we want to help you take extra precautions to protect it. We recommend that you help safeguard your identity and personal information by using effective password protection. Here are some suggestions for creating safer passwords and some precautions against using weak ones.
 
Tips for choosing more secure passwords:
  • Create original passwords that contain a combination of letters, numbers, and even special characters (#, &, %) if allowed
  • Use both capital and lowercase letters (if your password can be case-sensitive)
  • Ensure that your passwords are at least eight characters
Avoid using:
  • Your Social Security number
  • Account numbers
  • Phone numbers or addresses
  • Birth dates or anniversaries
  • Obvious or common nicknames
  • Names of relatives or pets
  • Any personal information, including personal preferences, such as favorite sports team
  • Common words from the dictionary
Additional precautions:
  • Use a unique password for each service or website
  • Choose a password you can easily remember, so you don't have to write it down
  • Change your passwords every few months or sooner if you suspect that it has been compromised
  • Do not share your passwords with anyone
  • Consider using a password manager to keep track of all your strong, unique passwords
  • Consider using a passphrase. A passphrase is a phrase that is easy for you to remember but difficult for others to guess.
To further secure password-protected accounts:
  • If possible, enable two-step verification to access the account. Everytime that you access your account, in addition to your password, you will have to input a code that you receive through a different channel, such as a text message on your mobile phone. Two-step verification makes it harder for an account to be compromised, as the perpetrator would need access to two devices to hack the account.
  • If the account offers it, establish strong answers that only you know for recovery questions in case you forget your password.
  • Some accounts or devices offer biometrics, such as fingerprint identification, that you may want to consider using as well.
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