These days we run our entire lives online. Most of us have at least three different social networking accounts that we use to keep in touch with our friends, logins for internet banking and various online shops and handle most of our admin via e-mail. Some of us even organize our tax online.
This is all very convenient of course, but it also creates a couple of challenges. The first of these is security related: how do you ensure that all those accounts stay safe and that nobody gains access who shouldn’t? And the second is to do with organization: how do you keep track of all these accounts?
Because of course the first tip when it comes to online security is to make sure you have different passwords for your various different accounts. If you have one global password for everything you do, then someone who works that password out will have access to every area of your life.
Fortunately there are solutions that can help you to keep your passwords safe and organized. Read on to learn what those are.
Understanding a Good Password
Another problem you face is that good passwords are by their very nature difficult to remember. Of course if you come up with a password that’s easy to remember, then it will also be easier for the ‘bad guys’ to remember, so you need to avoid anything that’s based on a memorable date or that’s too short and catchy.
Note as well that the main dangers with regards to password protection come from scripted software – not from real people. In other words, your password is most at risk from algorithms that try multiple combinations of passwords and usernames beginning with the most common.
Make your password longer and less common, while using the biggest range of characters, and you reduce the risk from these kinds of attacks. The challenge is making your passwords hard to remember… but then remembering them all.
Solution 1: Context Sensitive Passwords
One way to keep your passwords different but complex is to come up with a single password, but to then change it each time depending on the name of the website you’re on. For instance you could make your password ‘667ILIKESANDWICHES’ for every site, but then add the first two and last two letters for each.
Like, your Facebook password might be ‘FA667ILIKESANDWICHESOK’, while your Twitter password could be ‘TL667ILIKESANDWICHESER’. This way you’re only remembering one password really, but you’ll still be safeguarded against people getting into all your accounts at once.
Solution 2: Using a Reference
Another trick is to use a reference such as a book and to use this to look up your password. The password for one site for instance might be found on page 7, paragraph 2, line 3, word 6 and for another site it could be page 104, paragraph 1, line 1, word 20.
This way you can make your notes obvious – even pinning them up by your computer – because they won’t be any use to anyone without the book that you use as a reference.
By being random, but being clever, you can beat the algorithms that would try to hack your accounts and keep your personal data safer as a result – without getting a massive headache trying to remember everything.
This is a guest post by Jason Haddad. If you would like to write for WinAppleWorld, check our guest posting guidelines.