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4 ways your computer password will get you hacked

4 ways your computer password will get you hacked

We have the secrets to why your secure account is more hackable than you think.

1. Your password is "password"

Amazingly, "password" always ends up in a top spot of the most popular passwords, according to hackers who stole millions of them.

Also popular: "123456" and its neighbour "12345678," "welcome," "letmein," and "jesus."

2. You didn't check its strength first

The Password Metre is a handy resource when setting up new accounts or changing your login info.

It plugs your password into a formula and shows you exactly what its greatest strengths are (symbols) and weaknesses (sequential letters), thereby allowing you to tweak it to perfection.

3. Your security question is obvious

Sites will often ask you to provide a security question and answer for use when you forget your password.

Try for something complex or personal so nefarious types can't figure out the answer with a simple Google search—McAfee suggests a question like, "How was your first kiss?" with a quirky answer only you would think of ("Rocked it like a hurricane!").

4. You didn't use a mnemonic device

Lifehacker suggests using the Person-Action-Object (PAO) method to create an unbreakable password.

Visualise a famous person doing a random act with a random object (say, Abraham Lincoln surfing with a gallon of milk).

Now combine parts of that phrase to make a new word, like AbeLiSurfilk.

Not only do you have a word that's too random for any hacker to crack, but you'll be the only person it makes sense to.

Plus, our brains remember data better with visual cues (and especially with weird ones), so memorising it will be a cinch.

Have you been hacked before? What did you do? Let us know in the comments.

Written by Damon Beres. This article first appeared in Reader’s Digest. For more of what you love from the world’s best-loved magazine, here’s our best subscription offer.