PostPoints tip: Don't recycle passwords
Never use the same passwords for any accounts that offer a route into your personal or financial data. You may think that saves time and brain cells, but if somebody can guess or otherwise obtain your password at one site they can use that exploit to roll up your other accounts, locking you out of each one in succession. (We'd all like to think we're too smart to fall for some cheap phishing scam, but even experienced users can make a mistake during a distracted moment.) Instead, use different passwords for your important accounts. This doesn't have to be difficult; you can use words related to the same theme, and you don't have to make them impossibly long. Even a seven-character password can be far harder to crack than a six-character password, especially if you mix in numbers and uppercase letters. The one exception I'll allow to this no-reuse rule: passwords that only protect preferences at a site, such as custom stations created at a Web-radio service.
May 11, 2010; 9:25 AM ET
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