Here are a few don'ts:
- birthdates of anyone
- anniversary dates
- the word password
- your name, or anyone's name for that matter (including your pet)
- 1234, or any run of numbers
- any set of numbers
- any set of same letters (ex: fffff)
- phone number
- any words or familiar phrase (ex: happyhome, mygalsal)
Try to think of a phrase, quote, or title that is very familiar to you and turn that into a password.
For example, A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens can be put into a password by using the first letters of each word, adding a number and arbitrarily using capitals. You can even substitute a number for a letter, such as zero for the letter o. If allowed, add a few symbols to encrypt it even more.
ato2CbCED or %Ato2c<bCD) or @At02C^bCD+
See, an easy password to remember and extremely hard to break. Now, what is your favorite book, phrase, adage, or song. Get creative so you can be safe online.
Does the website allow for security questions? That is another level of security, but just don't use the correct answers. Make up a different mother's maiden name, street where you grew up, first grade teacher, and so on. Just make a note of the false answers and no one will be able to guess the answers (if they get past your super secure password) because they know all of those facts about you.
In your emails, do not click on a link in the email. Even if you are absolutely sure it came from a trusted source. Just write down the link and open it manually on a new page online. That way you can be sure you won't download a virus. If you are receiving emails from sources you do not recognize, just block them. Sometimes if you try to unsubscribe it just takes you to a website and it can install a tracking cookie.
When you are in the coffee shop of your choice, think twice about using that free WIFI. There could be a hacker in there just waiting for a chance to try his new skills. Use your own hotspot or tether to your phone and you will be much safer.
Being safe online is not hard to do, just be creative and be careful.