Online privacy largely relies on the strength of a website’s encryption technology, but after recent data breaches that include a hack attack at eBay, web users shouldn’t take the need for strong passwords for granted, according to security experts.
Besides avoiding consecutive numbers as passwords, there are several tips, tricks and tools to help web users keep their passwords secure.
“You should avoid common names, pets names, favorite sports team or anything that could be gleaned from your Facebook profile,” said Mike Prospero, reviews editor at Tom’s Guide, a tech news site that covers computer and mobile security.
Web users should have a different password for each site or app they log into, according to Prospero, who suggests thinking of a memorable phrase and using the first letters of each word in that phrase as a password.
But if that’s too complicated, or you have too many passwords to remember,there are a number of password managers to choose from.
For instance, LastPass, which stores your passwords as well as credit card, driver’s license and insurance information, can be downloaded free, but unlimited mobile access to the service costs $12 per year.
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1Password, which aims to be a “digital wallet” of sorts, stores credit card information, passwords for websites and apps and more, which can be organized in folders and categorized with tags. That service will set you back $50 for Mac or Windows computers and $18 for iOS devices.
Dashlane is like a digital wallet stuffed with receipts. It stores credit card information, screen shots and other records of your purchases, and when it thinks your passwords aren’t strong enough—it’ll encourage you to improve them. The free version of Dashlane doesn’t let you sync across devices. For that, you’ll have to pay $30 per year.
—By CNBC’s Althea Chang.