The importance of strong passwords Passwords are essential to protecting your online bank and credit card accounts. Without a strong password you put yourself at risk for fraud, and are unable to sign in and effectively manage your finances. Here are a few tips to keep in mind when managing your passwords for online accounts.Never reveal your password to anyone. You should look at the string of letters, numbers and special characters to see how strong of a password you actually use, updating your password frequently.According to a recent study by a prominent online security company, many Internet users have, simply put, terrible passwords.The list of bad passwords Every year SplashData releases a list of the year's worst passwords . The top five worst passwords in 2015 were:123456password12345678qwerty 12345The list was rounded out by longer combinations, including references to sports teams and a popular movie franchise."We have seen an effort by many people to be more secure by adding characters to passwords, but if these longer passwords are based on simple patterns they will put you in just as much risk of having your identity stolen by hackers," said SplashData CEO Morgan Slain in a press release.Effect on online banking Many financial institutions are heightening their password security and requiring strict password combinations in order to keep your information safe.According to a study from Kaspersky Labs and B2B International, 25 percent of Internet users had at least one of their accounts hacked from Oct. 2014 to Oct. 2015 . In light of this, many still chose to utilize weak passwords. You are the best defense when it comes to protecting your account information.If you notice suspicious activity on any of your accounts, contact your bank immediately to review them.What makes a strong password? According to Microsoft, strong passwords have several characteristics :Not a complete wordDoesn't contain your real nameA minimum of eight characters in lengthDiffers from other passwordsContains a combination of lower- and uppercase letters, numbers and symbolsSpecial characters can include keyboard characters such as periods, brackets, underscores and backslashes. The longer and more varied your password, the better your online account will be protected.You may now be wondering how it is even possible remember such complicated passwords. Luckily, a few programs and mobile applications exist that help you manage your login information.Utilize password managers Password managers are programs that store your usernames and other important information in what's known as a master vault. You will need to create and remember the password to access your vault.From there, options exist that will create new, randomized passwords and the best part is you won't have to remember these complicated combinations. Instead, the programs contain an autofill feature, so whenever you visit your bank's website, the username and password will be automatically filled in.These programs will store your passwords either on your local computer, in the cloud or a combination of the two. You can also enable syncing features so you're never without your login information, even while you're on a mobile device.Some of the most common, and best available password managers are:LastPassDashlane1PasswordAll three programs utilize the strongest form of encryption, known as 256-bit AES. This protection, in addition to your master password, further protects your banking information from outside threats.. SplashData's fifth annual "Worst Passwords List" shows people continue putting themselves at risk. Kaspersky: Weak Passwords Persist Despite Consistent Internet Threats. Tips for creating a strong password The information provided in these articles is intended for informational purposes only. It is not to be construed as the opinion of Central Bancompany, Inc., and/or its affiliates and does not imply endorsement or support of any of the mentioned information, products, services, or providers. All information presented is without any representation, guaranty, or warranty regarding the accuracy, relevance, or completeness of the information.