Most people don't put a lot of thought into creating a password. It's usually easiest just to create a short, easy-to-remember password, or even just to use the same password for every account you have. After all, the average person probably won't be able to guess your password.
However, hackers often use password-cracking software that can keep testing many different passwords until they find the correct one, and they can easily crack weak passwords. By creating strong passwords, you can greatly reduce the chance that your personal or financial information will be stolen.
Many people create passwords based on their spouse's names, a hobby, or a simple pattern, since those types of passwords are easy to remember. Unfortunately, they are also very easy for hackers to guess. To create a strong password, you will need to avoid these types of common mistakes.
Review the infographic below to learn some common password mistakes.
To see more examples of common password mistakes, check out 25 Worst Passwords of 2011 Revealed.
Instead of writing your passwords on paper where others can easily see them, you can use a password manager to encrypt and store them online. Some password managers can also generate random passwords, making your information even more secure. Examples of password managers include LastPass, KeePass, Firefox's password manager, and Chrome's password manager.
For example, when using LastPass you will first need to install the LastPass browser plugin. Whenever you type a password on a website, the browser plugin will ask you whether you want to save it. The next time you go to the website, LastPass can automatically enter the password for you. If someone else wants to use your computer, you can simply log out of LastPass to prevent the other person from accessing your information.