I had a recent conversation with a newsletter reader about passwords. The reader was asking about identity theft and the security of passwords. The person worried that a hacker could crack a password that consists of a family name or a pet's name or some similar word. I agree with her. Never use a single word or name to protect something you value.
Security experts will tell you to always use passwords that are non-words. Instead, all passwords should be lengthy and should also be a jumble of letters and numbers, such as:
That particular password looks complex, and yet it is easy for me to remember. It contains the first letter from each of the following words: "I like to surf the web at night 7 days a week." It is easy to remember and still is essentially impossible for hackers to guess.
You should pick equally inscrutable passwords. Use a sentence from a nursery rhyme or from your favorite song or anything else that you can easily remember but no one else will guess. Perhaps the first and middle initials from every member of your family, followed by the last four numbers of a telephone number. How about a telephone number but with family member initials in the middle: 555mdjd1212? Maybe a lengthy English word, only spelled backwards? Throw in a number or two in the process. How about the birth date of a favorite ancestor? Who is gong to ever guess a password of 23october1892?
Simple measures like this will greatly increase the security of your personal data.