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FTC: Protect That Password

For those who may have forgotten, the Federal Trade Commission wants to remind everyone that March 15 is National Password Day, as in, your name backward or the word "password" doesn't cut it.

Together with the Better Business Bureau, the FTC was providing tips on how to make passwords for bank accounts, e-mail accounts, credit card accounts and other accounts more secure. That is ever more important in an Internet-of-Everything world where accounts or devices requiring security will multiply like virtual rabbits.

Among the password tips:

1) Make them long, strong and complex. That means at least a dozen characters, including upper and lower case, numbers, and symbols.

2) Come up with a different password for different accounts.

3) If possible, use multifactor authentication, i.e., a password and second piece of info, and make that second piece of info a random number.

4) Consider getting a password manager app to keep track of all those passwords and security questions. Oh, and come up with a strong password for access to that manager since it is the key to the password vault, as it were.

5) Many security questions ask for information readily accessible in a public database, such as mother's maiden name, birthplace, childhood address. Bad idea. A motivated hacker can figure that out, the FTC said.

6) If you get a breach notification, change the password immediately.

7) If you write down a password, keep it out of plain site.

8) Never share passwords on the phone, in texts or in emails.

For more tips, go here.

John Eggerton
John Eggerton

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.