Computer security can be breached in many ways, but the most common problem is that a computer user’s password is stolen by someone else. The author offers these nine tips for keeping passwords secret without making them so complicated that they’re impossible to remember:

1. Add complexity to your passwords by using a mix of upper and lower cases;

2. Don’t use the obvious: kids’ names, birthdays, and so on;

3. Use a combination of letters and numbers;

4. Try to use at least eight characters;

5. Don’t create a ridiculously long password;

6. Don’t share your password. If a colleague or student needs to log on to your computer, have the network administrator issue a temporary password that provides access for a limited period of time;

7. Consider creating passwords of different levels of complexity for different online activities (web surfing, online banking, etc.);

8. Change passwords regularly; and

9. Don’t write down your passwords. If you must write down hints to yourself, don’t make them obvious.