How many passwords do you have floating around out there? A hack at MySpace reminds us just how important it is to regularly revisit password security.

While a MySpace account may be a thing of your past, the significance of this hack is the personal information that would have been stored on the site (and is now for sale on the black market,) specifically your email address and password combination. Having a strong, varied password is essential to protecting your identity online, and the security of everything from your social media accounts to online banking and your email depends on it.

So, what is the best way to protect yourself?

  1. If you remember the password you used for MySpace, make sure it is NOT the same password you have associated with other web accounts you own. Conversely, if you do not remember the password you used, but think it may have been one that you commonly used on social accounts, consider changing your other passwords.

  2. Use unique, strong passwords for all of your online accounts and vary them between sites so that one stolen password does not lead to multiple breached accounts. Create strong, alpha-numeric-symbol based passwords that are at least 13 characters to protect your information from online criminals. Make the password something easy to remember and associated with the name, for example: if you bank at the University Hills branch, your password might be “The Hills Are Alive” coded as “Th3 h!ll$ @r3 @l!v3.”

  3. Invest in password protection software. Accessible to you with one strong, master password, password managers help you create, store, organize and conveniently access long, strong, varied passwords for hundreds of sites, like 1Password and LastPass.

  4. If your current email address is tied to a MySpace account, be cautious of phishing emails that could try to trick you.