Dr. Digit 'Splains It AllThe big Internet story this month is about the Russian hackers who stole over 1.2 billion unique passwords from large and small Web sites.  Last December 40 million credit card numbers and 70 million addresses, and other personal information were stolen from Target by Eastern European hackers.  These are seriously bad people stealing information about you that they can use to do irreparable harm to your credit rating or bank account or your reputation. 

Experts say that you should always assume your data was among the stolen information and your first line of defense is to change your passwords.  Could you remember a password like 'Yol1biUdir1ie'?  I'll bet you can.

Most people use really dumb passwords that are so easy to figure out you wouldn't have to be a hacker (or cracker, as good hackers like to insist is the right word for bad hackers).  Do you know what the most popular password is?  Until last year it was 'password'. 

Now that is the second most popular password, according to an annual survey by SplashData, which compiles its annual list of most often used passwords from millions of stolen passwords posted online during the previous year.  Today the most popular password is '123456', followed by the word 'password', and '12345678', 'qwerty' (yep, those are first six keys on the top row of letters on your keyboard), '000000' (the 25th most popular) and the ever-original 'abc123'.

If you have been stymied by sites that require at east one upper case letter, one lower case letter, a number and sometimes a 'special character' like an ampersand or a dollar sign, I can see why you would choose something like 'password1' (the 21st most popular password in 2013).  But there is a better way.

How about this one: 2tRituahs@insatu

Using a simple system you can easily remember this password if you happen to be a fan of Albert Einstein, who said, "Two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity; and I'm not sure about the universe."

Use a number when a number or a reference to a number is used in the quotation, use a capital letter for a word like 'are' that rhymes with a letter like 'R' and to use the 'at sign' for the word 'and'.

The reason that is a great password is that it has 16 characters -- the longer a password is, the harder it is to crack -- a number, upper and lower case letters and a special character with the added bonus that once you have made up a system you can remember it easily.  That might be a great one for your Google account because the things you can search for on Google seem infinite.

Or how about: Yol1biUdir1ie ?  See how the logic works in Mae West's quote, “You only live once, but if you do it right, once is enough.”

Or 2ByiawticttmUseitga :

“To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment.” ― Ralph Waldo Emerson

The system may not be flawless (for instance, some sites don't allow your password to start with a number... you should have a rule for when that happens), but it's better than using 'password' or 'admin' (the 12th most popular password) or 'monkey' (the 17th most used password).

Really?  Monkey?  If you want to keep your data safe you're going to have a much more evolved password than 'monkey'!