1. Safety Center: Privacy and Identity

Password Tips

Your password is more than just a key to your online account. If your password falls into the wrong hands, someone can easily impersonate you while online, sign your name to online service agreements or contracts, engage in transactions, or change your account information. So, choose your password carefully and then keep it safe from others. With so many options, you should be able to come up with a password that's easy for you to remember but impossible for someone else to figure out. A password is a secret that only you should know.

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Here are some tips for choosing a strong password — one that is difficult to guess.

  • Choose a password you'll remember. It should be memorable for you (so that you don't have to write it down or leave it in the open), but difficult for others to guess.
  • Avoid using a word. Avoid a complete word from a dictionary (English or otherwise) or a name.
  • Use at least 7 characters. The more characters your password contains, the harder it is for someone to guess it. A long but simple password can be safer than a short, complex one — and often easier to remember.
  • Use a combination of capital and lowercase letters, numbers, and standard symbols (! @ # $ % ^ & *). Your Yahoo! password is case-sensitive, which means that a capital letter A is different from a lowercase a.
  • Don't use personal information that someone could easily figure out. Avoid a password based on information easily obtained about you (like your birthday, your child or pet's name, phone number, license plate number, employer, school name, automobile brand, or street name). Don't use a password you already use for another account, such as your bank account PIN. And don't use your Yahoo! ID (or other user name) in any form (such as reversed, capitalized, or doubled).
  • Avoid the obvious. Don't make it easy for attackers by repeating a digit or letter (like "111111" or "FFFFFF") or any other common sequence of characters (like "123456"). Stay away from obvious passwords such as "test" or "password." When you change your password, change several characters; don't just append a number like "2" to the end. And make sure anyone watching you enter your password can't guess it as you type (such as a password typed using a single hand, like "qwerty").
  • Put a new spin on a familiar phrase. Pick a favorite phrase or lyric for your password. To shorten it, substitute letters with a number or a standard symbol or remove vowels. For example, "fredsboy" can be made into "Fr3d$boy." Shorten "two tickets to paradise" to "2Tickets2Paradiz," or combine "cat" and "dog" into "cAt!Do8."
  • If you use a password generator, be careful. Make sure you can identify and trust the creator of a password management or generator program. Never share any personal information unless you trust the company or person you're working with. Online password-generator programs can help you create a random password that is generally harder to crack but also more difficult to remember. You can find password generators in the Yahoo! Directory category for System Utilities.