The end of the year is a great time to reevaluate computer and file security. One issue that many lawyers overlook is using effective passwords.

If all of your passwords use your name or you are just looking to upgrade, here are some ideas.

Avoid the obvious

A simple word or your birthday written backwards will not do it. If you have a Spiderman action figure on your desk, please do not make Spiderman your computer’s login. If you could ever learn something from Spaceballs, it would be password security.

On one hand, if someone wants to hack into something, they can probably do it.On the other hand, establishing solid passwords should ensure that only great hackers can bust in.

Use a password vault

You might login to your computer everyday, which makes it tough to forget your password. Other services, however, might only get used a couple times a year—thereby making those passwords easy to forget.

One option is KeePass, which will securely store all of your passwords in one place. All you need is one master password to access all of your other passwords—kind of like a bank vault.

If you are super paranoid, you can make security even tighter be using a key file. A key file can be stored on a USB drive, CD, etc. You can setup KeePass to only open the database when the key file is present and you use the correct password. Pretty sweet.

Generate some g!bber!$h

There are plenty of sites that will help you generate passwords that are seemingly gibberish. The problem with many of these passwords is that they are hard to memorize and easy to forget.

If you are creative, you can easily turn a phrase or word into something more secure but easy to remember (see the above heading). Do whatever works for you—having a unique password is the first step in security.

(Photo credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/mikeygottawa/533355476)