How to change password

By Alex Bramwell

Passwords have become a ubiquitous feature of modern life, and their correct use is essential to online security. Many people put their bank accounts and personal information at risk by using the same password for all their online accounts or using very simple and easily guessable words. Despite continuous warnings about password security, the world's most common password is thought to be 12345.

Step 1

Choose a password that is difficult to guess, with between eight and 18 characters. Use a combination of letters, numbers and symbols for your new password and use a different one for each account you open on line. Do not use your name or birthday or other easily traceable dates or names as hackers use sophisticated software to generate relevant passwords and test them.

Step 2

Log in to the online account of the service or website where you want to make the change. Find the account or settings section of your account. It is normally in the tabs at the top of the webpage or in the top right-hand corner. Search for and click on the "Change Password" option.

Step 3

Write your new password into the first "New Password" box and then write it again in the "Confirm Password" box. Do not cut and paste the contents of the first box into the second one as you will transfer any mistake and end up with an unknown password. Many accounts require you to also enter your current password or answer a security question to confirm your identity. Click on the "Send" or "Save" box to record your new password. In many cases you will have successfully changed your password. Some websites will not make the change unless you reply to an email sent to your registered email address.

Step 4

Open your email account and look for a new email from the website where you carried out the password change. Read this carefully to verify that it is genuine and then click on the "Confirm Password" change link. This will open a new browser page and take you to the website where the changes have been made.

Step 5

Record your new password on paper and store it somewhere away from your computer, especially if this is accessible to the public. Do not email your password to yourself or keep it on your computer. Do not respond to emails that ask you to change your password unless you are absolutely sure that they are genuine. Phone the help line number of the website in question if there is any doubt. Never respond to emails that ask you for your password.