By now, most of us have gotten used to the idea that life online requires an endless series of user IDs and computer passwords. Facebook, Netflix, Amazon, iTunes, credit cards, travel sites, banking sites, email accounts—the list goes on. No one can remember that many passwords, yet everyone knows password protection is necessary.

Most people tend to choose one or two passwords, usually something easy to remember like the name of a pet or grandchild, and use those passwords over and over again. The problem is that although "Spot123" or "Timmy11" may be easy to remember, these types of passwords leave you more vulnerable to identity theft. Someone who knows a few personal details about your life—the kind of information often scattered across the Internet these days—may be able to make a good guess about these simple passwords. For professional thieves who use software capable of running through obvious password combinations at lightning speed, "Spot123" or similar passwords pose little resistance.

The risk is compounded if the same password is used repeatedly. Internet security experts agree that your online banking password is different from your other passwords. It’s also a good idea to use “strong” passwords, passwords with random collections of letters, numbers, and symbols. These passwords make it more difficult for hackers, whether amateurs or pros, to get to your private data. Ally Bank has additional tips for creating a strong password, and then protecting it.

The problem, of course, is that these kinds of passwords can be hard to remember.Password-storing and management utilities (often referred to as "password managers") are available that require you to remember only one strong password.Many of these password-management software packages also can generate random passwords and automatically input passwords and usernames into forms. The files that hold your passwords generally are encrypted—meaning that even if your computer falls into the wrong hands, the thief shouldn't be able to root through all your passwords. If your computer is compromised by spyware or other malicious software, you should reset your passwords.

At Ally Bank, we are committed to helping you keep your personal information safe. Learn more about our practices and products at or call live, 24/7 customer care at 877-247-ALLY (2559) today.

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