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Building a Computer
  • Writer's pictureMichael Sheats

Keeping Your Online Information Safe: A Simple Guide to password and 2FA

In our modern world, keeping your personal information safe online is very important. Just like you lock your door to keep your home safe, you need to secure your online accounts to protect your personal information. Two main ways to do this are by using strong passwords and something called two-factor authentication (2FA). Let's break down these ideas into simple steps that anyone, especially seniors, can follow.

A password being typed into a computer

Why a Good Password is Important

Think of a password like a key to your online house. You wouldn't want a key that's easy for a thief to copy, right? That's why your password needs to be strong. Here’s what makes a password strong:

  • Make it Long: The longer your password, the better. A good rule of thumb is to make your password at least 12 characters long. Imagine a thief trying to guess the combination to a lock. A longer combination is much harder to guess!

  • Mix it Up: Use a mix of letters (both big and small), numbers, and symbols. It’s like hiding your key in a place no one would think to look.

The Magic of Two-Factor Authentication (2FA)

Two-factor authentication (2FA) adds an extra layer of security. It's like having a second lock on your door. Even if someone finds your key (password), they can't get in because they need a second key, which only you have. Here's how it works:

  • After you enter your password, the website sends a special code to your phone or email.

  • You enter this code to get access to your account.

  • This means if someone doesn't have access to your phone or email, they can't get into your account, even if they know your password.

How to Make Your Password Strong and Remember It

Creating a strong password doesn't mean it has to be hard to remember. Here are some tips:

  • Use a Phrase: Think of a sentence or a phrase that is easy for you to remember but hard for others to guess. For example, "I love to walk my dog in the park!" You can then turn this into a password by taking the first letter of each word and swapping some letters for numbers or symbols, like "Il2wmditp!"

  • Write It Down: It’s okay to write down your passwords as long as you keep them in a safe place at home, not near your computer.

  • Consider a Password Manager: A password manager is a secure app that keeps all your passwords locked away with one master password. This means you only need to remember one password. I use Dashlane for password management. Dashlane has apps for your pc and mobile devices. If you would like 6 months of Dashlane for free, head on over to my Software page.

Making 2FA Easy

Setting up 2FA might sound technical, but it’s quite straightforward:

  • Many websites will ask if you want to set up 2FA when you create an account or change your password. Say yes!

  • Follow the steps provided, which usually involve giving your phone number or email address.

  • Whenever you log in, you'll receive a code to enter, proving it's really you.

Remember, You're Not Alone

If any of this feels overwhelming, ask a family member, friend, or a staff member at your local library or community center to help you set it up. It's like asking someone to help you secure your home better—it's a smart thing to do.


By using a strong password and setting up two-factor authentication, you're taking important steps to protect your personal information online. Think of it as keeping your digital house safe. Just like in the real world, taking these steps can go a long way in keeping your information secure. Remember, it’s okay to ask for help if you need it. Keeping safe online is important for everyone, and there are plenty of people who would be happy to assist you.

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