Tag Archives: Protect your passwords

The life and times of your passwords

Let’s talk passwords. Exciting isn’t it?

But wait: do you use a key for your front door? Are you happy giving it to strangers? No? Well, this is the same thing – it’s important we think about how secure our digital life is too. Being digitally security-aware is just as important as being home security-aware.

Here’s the thing, remember three passwords, and that’s it:

  1. Your bank password – don’t use this for anything else
  2. Your work or study password – don’t use this for anything else
  3. Your password manager password – don’t use this for anything else. Keep reading, to find out what a password manager is and how it can make your life easier.

It’s simple, some accounts are more important than others, especially your work or study and your bank, so have individual passwords for them, and then one more for your password manager.

Have you fallen into the trap of using the same password for everything? It sounds like a clever strategy to avoid forgetting which is which, but have you noticed how those online security breaches just seem to keep happening? That clever strategy of yours means that sooner or later your password to everything could get into the wrong hands, and then someone else has your password to everything.

Tip 1: Don’t use the same password in multiple places.
OK, so how do you remember multiple passwords?
Answer: you don’t.

Tip 2: Use a password manager.
A password manager is like a locked safe containing a different password for every site you need one for (this is a very good thing), and it applies the right password for each site when you need it. Basically, it keeps track of all those passwords that are not your work/study and bank passwords. To get into your password manager, you use a “master” password, which should be a long and unguessable password. An odd sentence with no spaces works well – but “theywillneverguessthisone” has already been figured out, so be more clever than that. If someone can guess your master password, they can get to all your passwords, so be diligent about that long and unguessable password.

Sometimes you can use two factor authentication to make this master password even more secure. (Two factor authentication is a process whereby after you enter a password into the system, you then need to do something else with something you have, such as entering a code that the system sent to your (preregistered) cellphone, or entering a number displayed on a token, or inserting or touching a special USB device.)

Some Password managers you might like to look at are Lastpass, Keepass or Dashlane.

Here are some articles about the value of using Password managers:

The Washington Post>
The Verge>
Vox>