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This week, LinkedIn experienced a severe security breach that may have put upwards of 6.5 million passwords in the wrong hands. The social media site did its best to conduct damage control by being open about the problem, encouraging their users to change their passwords immediately.

Don’t delay – if you have a LinkedIn account, change your password as soon as possible. Even if your password wasn’t one of the ones compromised, why take the risk?

LinkedIn has provided some helpful tips on how to create a safe, reliable password. Here are some of our favorites:

The spice of life.
Celebrate variety! Even though you’re probably using a handful of different social media platforms, don’t use the same password on all the sites you visit. While it might be easier for you to remember, it puts your safety in jeopardy. (A helpful hint: keep a spreadsheet on your computer with a list of all your logins and passwords and update it frequently so that you don’t get confused or forget any of your passwords.)

Go long.
Passwords that exceed 10 characters are harder to crack. You could try combining words or adding numbers in order to lengthen your password.

Get creative.
By adding numbers that look like letters (ex: “3” for “E”) and randomly capitalized letters, you can really make your password unique and hard to figure out.

On top of these password tips, be sure to practice other safe behaviors online as well. Always sign out of all your accounts after you’re done using the computer if you use a shared machine and be sure to keep all of your anti-virus software current.

As we’ve stated before, LinkedIn is a great way to connect with leads and market your real estate business. And we still believe that! But it’s important for you to protect yourselves online on all platforms, not just with LinkedIn, so that all of your information is kept safe and your marketing efforts aren’t derailed.