Tech Caregiver Conversation Guide: Passwords

By AT&T Cyber Aware

Conversation Guidelines:

Before you begin, it is important to remember that what may seem like basic knowledge can be new or confusing to others. This conversation guide can help you have a meaningful conversation on safety tips and warning signs.  


Passwords Overview

Having strong passwords is one of the most important defenses for online security. Many people have trouble remembering long or complex passwords, or they may not understand the importance. As a result, they use easy to remember passwords for secured sites, like bank accounts, credit cards, email, and social media. However, those easy to remember passwords may also be easy for bad guys to guess.

Here’s how to start the conversation: “Have you changed your email password lately?”

Questions you can ask:

“What are you using for a password these days?”

“Do you have a different password for your email and other online accounts?”

Possible questions you’ll get – and suggested answers:

The password I have is strong. Why should I have different passwords for all my accounts?

It’s very important to use a unique password for each site and account you have. The reason for this is, if a bad guy gets your password from one account, they’ll try it on your other accounts. If it’s the same password, they can get into everything.

Why can’t I use my birthday or your name in my password?

Those pieces of information are easy to learn. They may even be on your social media page. So bad guys who find that information can use it to guess your password.

How can I keep track of different passwords?

There are free or inexpensive password apps for your smartphone, tablet, laptop or PC. These password manager apps help manage passwords, security questions, or other information for your accounts. They can even keep track of different user IDs.

What are some tips for creating a strong password?

  • Avoid weak passwords like: 123456,’ ‘p@ssw0rd’ and ‘asdfjkl.’
  • The best defense is length. Passwords don’t need to be complex and hard to remember. The old practice of using numbers and special characters, like #, %, & or $, made passwords complex and hard to remember.
  • You can make your passwords longer and strong by using a phrase. For example, “Cowshelpmakecheese.”
  • Don’t share your log-in credentials with anyone – not even friends and family members. Each time you share your ID and password combination, it potentially weakens your security.

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