Two out of every five people have had their passwords hacked either online or on their PCs. This is why password security is important. It’s normal to have a few passwords embedded in your brain, a good rule of thumb is to not mix work passwords with your personal passwords. Also try not to have just one or two passwords. It’s a good idea if you can remember 3 or 4 passwords with variations such as numbers on the end or even special characters like an explanation point or question mark.

These variations will save you in cases where large entities are hacked such as GMail or Dropbox. Once these organizations get hacked, hackers then move to other popular online services with the same email and passwords used prior and almost 80% of the time, they get in with the same credentials simply because users do not utilize password variation. The best thing to do is have a different password for everything, but that’s just not feasible, password variation is the key.

To avoid creating bad passwords, here are some things to avoid:

Don’t use only letters and numbers
Don’t use the names of spouses, significant others, children, or pets
Don’t use phone numbers, social security numbers, or birth dates
Don’t make your password “admin”, “password”, “12345” or anything similarly easy.

Coming up with strong passwords is half of the battle. Storing those passwords securely is part two of the battle. Don’t leave your passwords on a Post-it note somewhere. Don’t keep a document on your desktop with them all listed in plain sight. Consider leaving yourself password hints rather than actual passwords. And if you’re going to store your passwords in a document kept on your computer, make sure that’s a document only you have access to or utilize a password manager that offers encryption like RoboForm or LastPass.