The integrity of your online accounts is influenced by the strength of your passwords. If you create weak passwords, your accounts could become compromised. Weak passwords are easier to crack. A persistent hacker may identify a weak password through simple trial and error, at which point he or she will have access to your account. To preserve the integrity of your accounts, avoid the five following mistakes when creating passwords.

#1) Not Enough Characters

The longer a password, the stronger it will be. Generally speaking, you should use at least 12 characters in each of your passwords. The account for which you are creating the password may allow for fewer characters. Many accounts, for instance, only require a minimum of eight characters. Nonetheless, using at least 12 characters will make your passwords stronger and harder to crack.

#2) Reusing

Never reuse passwords. If you use the same password for an account that you are already using for another account, you’ll be more susceptible to cyber threats. Reusing passwords jeopardizes the integrity of all your accounts. If one account is hacked, all other accounts with the same password may be hacked as well. This is why it’s best to create a unique password for each account. Whether you have three accounts or 30 accounts, give them each a unique password.

#3) Only Letters or Numbers

Avoid creating passwords consisting entirely of either letters or numbers. Instead, create alphanumeric passwords that contain letters, numbers and at least one special character. Passwords made exclusively of letters or numbers are easy to crack. Hackers can break them using programs that spam common words found in the dictorary or common sequences of numbers. When you use letters, numbers and special characters, though, your passwords will become virtually immune to brute force attacks.

#4) Using Personal Information

Don’t use personal information in your passwords. Some people use their date of birth in their passwords, whereas others use the name of their child or pet in their passwords. Personal information such as this is often available on social media. A hacker may find this personal information

#5) Storing in Plain Text

While there’s nothing wrong with storing encrypted passwords, you shouldn’t store them in plain text. Plain text means your passwords are available for anyone to see. If a hacker gains access to your computer, he or she may find the plain text file containing your passwords. If you encrypt this file, on the other hand, your passwords will be protected from unauthorized access.