Choosing a unique password for your sensitive online accounts like your main email account and your financial accounts is important since a security breach at one site means your password could be handed to criminals who may try to use it at other sites. But choosing a unique password that fits the requirements and is easy to remember can be tough.

Your financial institution will have its own specific requirements for secure passwords, but here’s an easy way to choose a unique password that’s hard to crack and easy to memorize:

Use a passphrase instead of a password

Using a passphrase that you associate with that website makes it easier to remember. For example, if you’re logging into a photo sharing site, the phrase could relate to images of your friends and family:

Phrase: absence makes the heart grow fonder

And you can turn that phrase into a complex password to meet the security requirement to use letters and numbers and special characters as follows:

Step 1: Determine phrase:

 absence makes the heart grow fonder

Step 2: Take the first letters of the words in the phrase:

Amthgf

Step 3: Add uppercase letters:

AmthgF

Step 4: Expand words, substitute and/or add numbers and special  characters and ensure that your password is at least eight characters in length.

Amth3G+F1!

Take additional steps to protect yourself

It’s also important to remember that strong unique passwords are the first step in keeping your sensitive personal information protected. Also consider taking advantage of multifactor authentication (two-step security) for your online accounts when available and keep your computer and device software up-to-date by installing the latest operating systems and security updates.

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