Protect your online ID Passwords

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This article, Protect your online ID, was last updated on 23 July 2008 and is now out of date and held in our online archive for reference. Explore our latest Technology articles.

A screengrab of a log-in page

Use a medium-security password for your email account

How do I create a strong password?

Good passwords are the key to keeping our personal data safe. 

Many people use things like their mother’s maiden name, but you might be surprised to learn just how easy it is to find out information like this from public records, for example.

It can be difficult to remember multiple passwords, but we recommend using a three-tiered password system where you have different levels of password for different types of website:

  • Low security  For signing up for a newsletter
  • Medium security For webmail and instant messenger services
  • High security For anything where your personal finance is involved

For a high-security password, a series of randomly generated letters and numbers is best, but if you needed something to help you remember your password by, you could consider creating your password from something such as the first letter of each word in a line from a favourite song.

I can't remember all my passwords, what can I do?

You might consider using a password manager, which will remember all your passwords for you – all you need is to remember is one single ‘master password’.

Windows Vista has a password manager that uses your user login as the master password. Firefox also lets you store passwords. 

However if you can manage without a password manager then do, since they can make it easier to gain access to your data.

Windows Vista

Go to Start > Control Panel > User Accounts and Family Safety > User Accounts and click Manage your network passwords in the left-hand task pane. Click Add in the new dialogue box. 

Under ‘Log on to’, type the address of the site you want to sign into and then enter your username and password underneath. 

Put a tick next to ‘A website or program credential’ and click OK.

Mozilla Firefox

Go to Tools > Options > Security. Put a tick next to ‘Remember passwords for me’. 

Put a tick next to ‘Use a master password’. In the window that appears, enter your password twice and click OK > OK.