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.
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.
Choosing a strong password is just one part of protecting your Yahoo! account. You should also follow these tips to keep it safe:
- Your Yahoo! ID and password are confidential information. A Yahoo! employee will never ask you for your password in an unsolicited phone call or email.
- Do not respond to any message that asks for your password.
- Do not write your password down. If you must write it down, keep it safe away in a place only you can access. Treat it as if it were cash.
- Change your password if you suspect something is amiss. To change your Yahoo! password, go to "How do I change my password?" and follow the instructions.
- Verify your Yahoo! account information. From time to time, make sure your information is accurate and that no one has changed your data. If you suspect someone knows the answer to your secret question and any other information asked on the Sign-In Problems page, contact the Yahoo! account security team as soon as possible.
- Use care with automatic sign-in. If you check Remember my ID on this computer when you sign in to Yahoo!, you're still signed in even after you close your browser.
- This feature can be a convenience for you: When you return to Yahoo!, you don't have to re-enter your password. (If you're away from your computer for a while, you may be asked to re-enter your password.)
- Do not check the Remember my ID on this computer box if you use a shared computer.
- To change the setting of this feature, click the Sign out link at the top of most Yahoo! pages, and then sign in again, but do not check the Remember my ID box.
- Read the fine print. Before saving your password on any browser, plug-in, or program, thoroughly read the security documentation for that program or service. Depending on the program, your passwords may be available to anyone who uses that computer.