How to beef up your passwords

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Denisa Tova has some tips.

Data pix.

Create a bullet proof password and change it often

Experts suggest that you use a password that combines upper- and lowercase letters, numbers and symbols, such as $%&12Dt. Instead of a simple six character word like “denver”, which would take a hacker’s computer no time to crack. You can test your passwords by going to Microsoft Security.

Remember them

Use simple technique to memorize your password.

Kiplinger suggests that you use a phrase or sentence, such as Ourgirlanddogwentout If your account has a character limit, use a trick to jog your memory, and include non-letter symbols: “Our girl age 13 and a dog age 5” so your password would be Og#13ad#5.

Use programs to manage and keep track of them for you. One such service is LastPass (premium costs $12 per year and comes with mobile access on iPhone, BlackBerry, Android and Windows Phone) and 1Password ($35; available for Apple and Android mobile devices) store and remember all your passwords for all your accounts. With one master login and password, you have access to everything. Bonus: Both serv­ices will automatically generate secure passwords for you.

For e-mail users willing to take an extra step in the name of security, some providers, such as Google, offer two-step verification (go to Account Settings to set up the service). After you sign up, a code is sent to your phone. Enter the code at login, then type in your regular password. The code is good for one month per computer; when the 30 days are up, a new code is sent to you automatically. LastPass offers a similar service.

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