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What can I do to protect my username and password information from computer hackers?

At one time, computer hackers were viewed as a few rogue individuals who mainly worked alone. Today, many hackers are part of highly sophisticated networks that carry out well-organized cyber attacks. Unfortunately, these online security breaches can result in your username and password information being compromised.

Whenever you enter your personal information online, you'll want to make sure that you create a strong password to protect that information. Some tips for creating a strong password include:

• Avoid creating simple passwords that have a connection to your personal identity (e.g., date of birth, address) or that can be found in the dictionary

• Create a password that uses a nonsense word/random alphanumeric combination or an arbitrary, easy to remember phrase with mixed-up character types (e.g., upper/lower case, punctuation)

• Don't use the same password for multiple websites

• Use an online tool that allows you to test the strength of a password

If you have trouble keeping track of all of your password information or if you want an extra level of password protection, you may want to use some type of password management software. There are a variety of password managers on the market. Password managers typically work by using high-level encryption methods to store all of your online usernames and passwords on one secure server, using a single master password.

There are a few things you should consider when choosing a password manager. First, if you plan on needing your password information for use on various devices (e.g., tablet, smartphone), you will want to choose a password manager that has mobility features. In addition, some password managers offer added benefits such as web form fillers, which can come in handy if you do a lot of online shopping. Other features to look for include automatic log in and password generator capability.

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