We are living in a world where passwords determine whether you can access your data, communicate with friends, or make online purchases. Having a password that is too easy to guess can leave your privacy vulnerable. You often hear that you should use strong passwords online, but what makes a password strong?

The following tips can help you create a strong and secure password:

Never Share Your Password with Anyone

You should never give your password to anyone, even your relatives or longtime friends. You never know, that friend might just accidentally leak your password, or they may abuse the use of your password.

Don’t Use a Single Password for All Accounts

With countless viruses and hackers preying on you, you should create a unique password for every account you create. Otherwise, if one password is stolen, all the other accounts may also fall prey to hackers.

Make Passwords that are Easy to Remember, but Hard to Guess

Many sites will have their own requirements which help you to create passwords that are more secure. Where possible, you can use an entire phrase that is important to you or use initials and add numbers or special characters to make a password more difficult to decode that is personal and easy to remember.

Make Passwords at Least Eight Characters Long

The longer a password, the stronger it gets. It is much more difficult for hackers to crack longer passwords.

Include Numbers, Capital Letters, and Symbols

It is much more difficult to crack passwords that contain symbols and numbers. You can use a $ instead of S or 1 instead of L, you can include & or % or any combination of letters, numbers and symbols that is easy for you to remember while making it hard for outsiders to guess your code.

Do Not Use Dictionary Words

Try avoiding the use of words straight from the dictionary. There is a popular process among hackers known as a “dictionary attack” that uses a dictionary to guess passwords.

Don’t Keep Passwords in Plain Sight

This might seem like an obvious tip, but many people write their passwords on sticky notes and leave them on their monitors. If you really need to write your password down, you should keep it in a place that no one else can access or easily see.

Use a Password Manager

There are web services available that allow you to create and store all your passwords for each of your sites. Then you will only have to remember one password that can be used to access the program that stores all your passwords for you.

Use Multifactor Authentication

Many services and sites offer an option to double verify your account at every login or when using an unrecognized device. The most common method for multifactor authentication is to generate a text message or phone call to your registered mobile device with a code that you enter to verify that it is you who is accessing the desired content.

Don’t Fall for Phishing Attacks

You should be very careful while opening a link, even from a legitimate website that asks you to log in, change your password, or provide your personal information. It can either be legitimate or a phishing scam. With a phishing scam, whatever information you enter goes directly to the hacker so be sure to verify the website before entering any sensitive information.

Make Sure Your Devices Are Secure

Even if you create the best password in the world, it won’t do you any good if there is someone looking over your shoulder as you type in the password. Different kinds of software like keyboard loggers that make a record of your keystrokes have aided hackers in password theft. You should make sure that your operating system is updated, and that your device is running up-to-date anti-malware and anti-virus software.

Use a Password, Fingerprint or Facial Recognition on Your Phones

Most phones can be locked, where the only way to access your device is by entering a code, or pattern. Some phones have integrated new technologies like fingerprint and facial recognition. Using fingerprint and facial recognition technology adds heightened security and protection to your personal data.

Each year our dependence on technology grows, so it is imperative to have strong passwords to protect against online threats. Having longer passwords that can’t be found in the dictionary, and that contain symbols and numbers are simple, proactive steps you can take to protect your online information. If you feel like you might easily forget your passwords, there are safe password management methods out there that can help you keep your information stored and secured, all in one place. Understanding how to build a strong password will help keep online hackers at bay and give you peace of mind knowing your information is secure.