Customizable passwords offer more protection


Yet another hack at a website has people wondering, “So, what do I do about it?”

Zappos is a renowned shoe retailer that caters to women on the web. They have one of the best customer service reputations. But lately, they’ve been catching some heat for not being forthcoming enough with info about the parameters of their security breach.

I’m hoping Zappos gets it more together. I was surprised not to see anything about the breach on their homepage when I checked today. That’s very disturbing and runs counter to the culture and connection they have to women about shoe shopping.

Be that as it may, Zappos is just the latest in a long line of hacks that seemingly come every few weeks. So many of us use the same password over and over at every site where we’re registered. That can be disastrous for your finances should criminals be able to breach your accounts.

What you need is a password that’s both easy to remember and highly customizable for every different website you visit. Here’s one possibility, suggested to me by one of our web people on

When you go to a website, you use the password you normally use, but have some system in place like appending the first two letters of the site’s name to your password. So if your password is ‘bluesky,’ you would use ‘blueskyza’ at Zappos or ‘blueskyam’ at Amazon.

Obviously, if everybody does this exact method, it will be easy for criminals to breach. But what I’m saying is come up with something easy that allows you to do something different that you can remember. Because that’s the problem with crazy alphanumeric passwords; nobody can remember them!

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