By David Glick

Are you using a webmail account such as Gmail, Yahoo! mail, MSN or Hotmail? If so, how strong is your password? Webmail accounts get hacked every day and then the account sends emails to everyone on the contact list with links that go to malware infected web pages and worse.

How do you make a strong base password that is easy to remember? Glad you asked! Make a password that is at least 8 characters long, has a combination of upper case and lower case letters (at least one of each) numbers, and special characters. Your password can be the name of someone close to you or that you like, substituting special characters for vowels, and add numbers to it that make sense to you.

For example, if your father’s name is Robert and he graduated high school in 1955, your password could be r)b3rT!955 – you can see that the o has a shift-0 or right parenthesis ), the e has a 3 substituted for it, and the 1 has an exclamation point instead. Lastly, the T is capitalized. To make a different password for each website that you visit (VERY strongly recommended) use the first two letters of the domain your password will be for (for example, chase would be “ch”) and put them somewhere in the base password. So in my example, Chase.com the password would be r)cb3rT!95h5 and wellsfargo.com password would be r)wb3rT!95e5. As you can see the first letter is inserted into the 3 character place of the base password and the second letter is inserted into the second to last letter place.

Now you try it – think of a website that you go to and use my base password to make a unique password for that website. For example, bankofamerica.com would be r)bb3rT!95a5. Did you get that? Try some more! Then make your own unique base password and think of how you could add the first two letters of each domain into a certain place in your base password. Avoid using them together – separate them somewhere in the base password. Have fun making your new passwords!

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