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New password rules make them easy to remember and more secure

I'm no longer using passwords that look something like this: W#7s@Pq!. They were very difficult to remember and extremely frustrating to enter, especially using a phone's tiny onscreen keyboard. I have changed strategies and my life is better.

For many years, my advice about how to create the best password did not change very much. A good and secure password requires at least eight random characters. Be sure to logjam the hacker's password cracking programs by using a mixture of upper and lower-case letters, a number or two, and a few symbols.

Never use any word found in the dictionary or a series of numbers, like 12345678. Don't use words that people around you know such as your dog's name, favorite sport or the city where you were born. Whatever you do, never perform the ultimate password faux pas and use the word "password" as your password.

We've tried to make light of our universal password pain. Perhaps you've heard this joke. "I changed my password to 'incorrect.' Now whenever I forget what it is, the site will say, 'Your password is incorrect.'"

Like you, I made hieroglyphic passwords. I've done my best to memorize passwords only to feel defeated. The password reset link was my last resort at more sites than I care to admit.

Let's breathe a collective sigh of relief and give thanks to a series of studies at Carnegie Mellon University. They found passphrases provide just as much randomness as a haphazard collection of letters and symbols.

Try one like this: ilovefreshsashimitunawithalittlesoyandwasabi. That's 44 lower case letters, with no spaces. It's easy for me to remember because it's true.

Next page: What makes this password so secure?
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