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What the Tech? Bad passwords

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Halloween is a few weeks away but you don't have to wait that long to be scared. The most frightening thing you'll see all year is what computer hackers are up to.

October is Cyber-Security Awareness Month and is a good reminder to lock down your online accounts.

If you haven't been hit by a cyber-criminal, you probably just don't know you've been hit. Last year hackers exposed personal information of about 110 million Americans which is roughly half the U.S adult population.

What makes Americans easy targets? Because we are terrible at passwords. I went out to talk with people who, like most, have dozens of online accounts such as Facebook, Amazon, Google and Apple and every person I spoke to admitted they have passwords that are easy for cyber criminals to crack.

One woman says she uses the same password for all of her accounts, and what’s even worse is that her husband uses the same password for all of his accounts. She even admitted the password isn’t difficult.

Hubert Payne told me the same thing as he played with his daughter in the park. He said he uses the same password for his email, Facebook, Dropbox and about a dozen other accounts that could have his personal information stored somewhere.

It’s not easy to do what experts say we should do with our passwords. They say each account should have its own password, made up of 12-14 characters, a mixture of upper and lower case letters, symbols and numbers. They also recommend we change those passwords every 60 days and to never re-use the same password, even for different accounts.

That’s impossible for most people to do on their own. I recommend two programs to handle the heavy lifting and secure each account.

LastPass and One Password are both Mac and Windows programs and each has their own app.

With these two programs users only need to remember one password. It is a master password which opens a vault that stores passwords for each online account. The idea is to set incredibly difficult passwords for those accounts and the programs will generate the passwords for you, up to 26 characters.

All you have to do is remember the one master password

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