Every time we turn around, there’s a new security breach in the news. Under Armour recently announced that the information of 150 million My Fitness Pal users was compromised. In 2017, phishers sent fake Google docs to more than one billion users, 143 million people were affected by the Equifax breach, and more than 3 billion Yahoo accounts were hacked.

It’s hard to completely protect yourself from hackers, but you can help make sure your passwords are as strong as possible by following some of these tips:

  • Change your passwords frequently.
  • Don’t use one of these too-common passwords:
    • 123456 – Yes, people actually use that password.
    • 123456789 – Those extra digits don’t help.
    • ABC123 – This one is too easy, too.
    • I love you – It’s very nice, but not safe.
  • Don’t use something easy like the above passwords (or your name) and simply make common substitutions, like zero for O or 3 for E.
  • Don’t use the same format for all of your passwords, e.g. Amazon123, Google123, Yahoo123. If hackers figure out one, it’s a piece of cake for them to figure out the others.
  • Do create a sentence. It’s even better if you use punctuation. For example, if you like to eat chocolate at 8 p.m., your password might be “IeatChocolate@8p.m.”

Of course no password is unbreakable, but following the above tips can increase your security. And of course, there are a few other ways to protect yourself online:

  • Delete any suspicious emails immediately.
  • Don’t answer unsolicited communications.
  • Don’t click on downloads or attachments if you have even a shred of doubt as to their authenticity.

Do take these simple steps to protect your identity online. It could save you money and lots of inconvenience.