Make your password pack a punch Published October 21, 2016 They're made-up words, strings of gobbledygook that aren't even in the dictionary. But passwords are often all that stand between you and scammers trying to steal what you have, so it's important to make sure they're as strong as they can be. How do you make a password powerful? Make it new. Companies don’t always let consumers know right away if they’ve been hacked, so by the time you get the bad news, your password might have been compromised for months. Best practice: Change your password every two to three months. Make it unique. Use a different password on each device. If you use one password on all of your devices, everything is vulnerable if the password’s stolen. Make it unpredictable. Don’t use familiar words, such as “password,” or number sequences such as “12345” as your password. Also, avoid using milestone dates in your life, such as your birthday or anniversary, that a hacker could get from one of your online profiles. Make it mysterious. Don’t use a real word, such as "money," as a password. Make one up with a mix of numbers, symbols, and upper- and lower-case letters, or use an online password generator, such as the Identity Safe Password Generator by Norton. If you're feeling creative, you can make up a password using the first letters of each word in a phrase. For example: #I love a scoop of ice cream with 3 cherries on top! becomes #Ilasoicw3cot! Make it long. The most effective passwords each have at least 8 characters. . The more complex a password is, the harder it is to figure out. Keep it a secret. Don’t write down your password, don't jot it on a sticky note next to your computer, and, most of all, don't share it with anyone. Your password is designed to protect you from a multitude of threats, and if it gets out, you never know who will see it or what will be done with it.