If any of these sounds familiar you should read this entire newsletter, as I have few great options to help you keep your passwords up to date and more secure.
It’s practically unavoidable these days to have usernames and passwords for dozens or even hundreds of services or websites. Personally, I have 305 distinct accounts scattered across my personal and business life. 305! There’s no way I could remember that many different passwords, right? Wrong. I can tell you the password for every single one, there are a few that I might have to take a second guess at but for the most part my passwords are secure and that’s because I use a system. Here’s how it works:
Start with a base number, 6 digits is pretty good. For this exercise, I’m going to use 456852.
Now come up with one group of letters, three characters long. I’m going to pick kvm.
Capitalize one or two letters from your group. I’ll make mine kVm.
Pick a symbol you can type with your eyes closed. $ is mine for this exercise.
Now put it all together in any order you want. Today We’ll do kVm$456852 this is your core password, and it will become the basis for every password you create from here till the end of time. If you ever need to change your password keep one-digit ready to be stepped to a new digit, maybe it’ll be kVm%456852 next time.
The secret to making this work is that for every site, service, company etc you have a unique system. So today my system is to use the first 2 characters from the service I’m trying to log into and I always capitalize the second character. So Microsoft becomes mI, Apple becomes aP, Amazon is aM and so on.
Now tack that service specific group and add it somewhere into your core password, it can be the beginning, the middle or the end. I’ll go with the middle after the symbol today. So, at Microsoft my password is kVm$mI456852 and at Apple it’s kVm$aP456852 and Amazon it’s kVm$aM456852.
So that’s a best practice method.
Every service gets a unique password that is almost impossible to hack if you don’t share your pattern and if one service gets hacked and your password is released it cannot be used to get into any other services. While making this password, keep these rules in mind.
Rule 1. Never ever use your own or your family’s names, abbreviations, initials, birthdays, special days etc. Your dog tag number and your wedding anniversary are available to anybody who looks hard enough.
Rule 2. No real words. If it’s in a dictionary, encyclopedia, medical book etc don’t use it.
** This has recently been proven as not the best method as show in the cartoon above. You can read why by reading this article. Although it's good, the best method is to use a string of unrelated random words. Simply open up the dictionary and point till you get about 25 letters worth of words. They should never form sentences nor make any sense at all.
Such as these examples:
You don't think you can do that do you?
Some of you are probably still shaking your heads saying you’ll never remember your password, so here are two options to keep up with all those passwords. One for those who must write things down and one for those who are comfortable letting the computer do the work.
The first is dead simple. Get a pencil and one of those old-fashioned address books, preferably one with a spiral binding so you can slip your pencil in for safe keeping. Now when you want to add a new service to your list simply go to the letter that service starts with and enter it in the first available address block. Now you’re mostly alphabetized and each service has a line for name and you can put the username and password down on the address line. Use that pencil and you can update your password whenever you need to change it. You can’t go wrong! The only drawback is if you get burgled. So maybe hide it somewhere.
The second is my method. I use a service called LastPass and it becomes a part of my web browser and saves every username and password in a “vault” that only I can open with a master password that is only saved in my head. It is nearly impossible to hack and since the service doesn’t keep a master password record it’s not worth a criminal’s time. It’s free to use on a computer and only $11 a year if you want to put it on your tablet or phone as well. Check it out at https://www.lastpass.com/
I hope this special password newsletter helps keep you safe out there on the World Wide Web.
Need some help setting up a great password system? We can help. Call Us at (828) 281-4379