If I wanted to crack one of your passwords, I could probably make a series of educated guesses and get pretty close. Why? Because people tend to stick with simple, easy to remember passwords, but these are the passwords that are easy to hack. According to Bill Carey, VP Marketing for the RoboForm Password Manager “Users need to take personal responsibility for their passwords and not assume that companies will keep them safe.” Hackers Have Many Ways to Get Into Your Accounts There are many ways that a hacker can get into an online account. A brute force attack is one of the simplest ways to gain access to information, and is generally done when a hacker writes a special code to log into a site using specific usernames and passwords. A hacker usually focuses on websites that are not known for security, such as forums…and if you are like most people, the same password and username you use on your favorite gardening site is the same you use at your bank…or at least a version of it. The hacker instructs the code to try thousands of different username and password combinations on the target site, such as your bank. What makes this easier? Your computer stores cookies, which have information on your login credentials, in a neat, orderly unencrypted folder on the cache of your web browser. As soon as this is accessed, it can be used to get into online accounts. How to Improve Your Passwords There are a number of expert tips that will help to improve your passwords: Substitute numbers for letters that look similar, such as @ for O, i.e. M@delTFord. Throw in a random capital letter where it usually shouldn’t be, i.e. PaviLlion723. Have a different username and password combination for every account. Consider using a password manager to keep track of all of your account credentials. This way, you won’t have to worry about remembering all of the symbols and letters. These password managers also automatically fill passwords in on web pages or on devices. Test your password strength with an online tester, but make sure it is from a reputable source, such as Microsoft or even beter use the experts over at password manager RoboForm – http://www.roboform.com/how-secure-is-my-password . Don’t learn a hard lesson when it comes to your passwords. Take the steps today to update your log in credentials, and have a safer tomorrow. Robert Siciliano is a personal privacy, security and identity theft expert to RoboForm discussing identity theft prevention . Disclosures .