Attackers can use multiple methods, most often automated, to "crack" your password. These methods can consist of brute force attempts, dictionary attacks and social engineering (e.g., via phishing). A strong password can help deter the first two attack methods so you should keep the following in mind when selecting a password:

With today's password cracking capabilities, using any single word as part of a password, even with numbers substituted for letters, is NOT sufficient.

You should never share your passwords including with supervisors or co-workers. Don't write it down and then leave it on your display, under your keyboard, etc. In your browser (e.g., Internet Explorer, Firefox, Safari, etc.), you should always disable the Save Password option.

You can change your password any time.

Below are some ideas for generating strong yet memorable passwords (from: 'Perfect Passwords: Selection, Protection, Authentication' by Mark Burnett):

A good password choice is one that is very hard to guess but also easy to remember.

Finally, below are the ten most common (and horribly weak) passwords discovered from website hacks (courtesy of the Wall Street Journal):

- 123456
- password
- 12345678
- lifehack
- qwerty
- abc123
- 1111111
- monkey
- consumer
- 12345