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For Seniors: Create Secure Passwords on Your Laptop

A strong and secure password can be one of your best bets to safeguarding your information in online accounts and websites. Never give your password to anyone, and change passwords on particularly sensitive accounts, such as banks and investment accounts, regularly.

The following table outlines five principles for creating strong, secure passwords.

Principle How to Do It
Length Use at least ten characters.
Strength Mix it up with upper- and lowercase letters, characters, and numbers.
Obscurity Use nothing that's associated with you, your family, your company, and so on.
Protection Don't place paper reminders near your laptop.
Change The more sensitive the information, the more frequently you should change your password.

Look at the following table for examples of password patterns that are safe but also easy to remember. Keep in mind: Just use these examples for inspiration; don’t use any of them as your real password. (You never know who else might be reading this article.)

Logic Password
Use a familiar phrase typed with a variation of capitalization and numbers instead of words (text message shorthand). L8r_L8rNot2day = Later, later, not today

2BorNot2B_ThatIsThe? = To be or not to be, that is the question.
Incorporate shortcut codes or acronyms. CSThnknAU2day = Can’t Stop Thinking About You today

2Hot2Hndle = Too hot to handle
Create a password from an easy-to-remember phrase that describes what you’re doing, with key letters replaced by numbers or symbols. 1mlook1ngatyahoo = I’m looking at Yahoo (Replace the Is with 1s.)

Spell a word backwards with at least one letter representing a character or number. $lidoffaD = Daffodils (The $ replaces the s.)

y1frettuB = Butterfly (The 1 replaces the l.)

QWERTY7654321 = This is the six letters from left to right in the top row of your keyboard, plus the numbers from right to left across the top going backwards.
Use patterns from your keyboard. Make your keyboard a palette and make any shape you want. Typing 1QAZSDRFBHU8 is really just making a W on your keyboard.

It’s a good idea to password-protect your laptop. That way, if it’s left running in a public place, or lost or stolen, nobody else can log on to access the information on it.

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