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MIAMI (CBSMiami) — From social media to email to your bank account, just about everything requires a password online. Passwords are a way of life in this high-tech age but many people make some low-tech choices.

Pet names, family names, nicknames, even favorite celebrities are often used as passwords when having a complicated password is even more important than ever.

“Using different passwords on different accounts is important,” said Lujo Bauer, a computer security expert as Carnegie Mellon University’s Cylab.

He says creating strong passwords is vital because hackers have software that use billions of password combinations to break into an account.

“It’s typically a computer that is trying to guess.  They are just going to use dictionary of pet names, and human names and city names and they are going to try all possible combinations and they can try many, many guesses,” he explained.

Bauer says it’s important to have passwords that contains upper and lowercase letters and numbers, but just don’t put the capital letter in the front and numbers at the end. Be sure to mix it up.

“One tool that people can use is a password manager.”

There are a number of password managers on the market that can remember your passwords for you.

“Most of them have a feature to let you generate a new password for every account,” he said.

If you use the same password for all your online accounts, one right guess can allow a hacker to get into all of them.


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