“Passwords are a complete pain”. This is what I hear all the time when I work with my customers. I can still remember visiting a customer’s site to fix their laptop, only to find that they had stuck yellow sticky notes of every password they use – bank accounts, ebay, etc etc – on to the screen of their laptop – for all to see.
It is vitally important that you don’t use the same password for every site that you logon to. If a hacker gets a hold of this password, they have access to every account that you logon to. But how do you manage to have a different password for every site, without having to write down these passwords?
There are a couple of options that I can suggest:
- Think of a word that you will never forget. Let’s imagine that you were born in Newcastle, so I’ll choose Newcastle as this word. Now convert this word into a word that you can still read, but a machine can’t by converting the vowels into numbers. So Newcastle would become N3wc4stl3. Humans can still make this out to read as Newcastle, but machines can’t and it won’t be found in any dictionary. Now if you need to create a password for say your Amazon account, put an A at the end of this word and add a symbol as well – eg an ! So your password for your Amazon account will be N3wc4stl3A! (N3wc4stl3G! for your gmail, N3wc4stl3W! for your Waitrose account). This password system will be very easy to remember as the “special” word will be a word you will never forget: the website you are logging onto will then prompt you for the letter to add at the end of this word. You will now have a system where you have a different password for every site and that you are more likely to remember without the need to write down every password in a little black book (normally kept near your computer).
- Use a password manager. Password managers are great – they combine security with convenience by storing all your credentials in one place, allowing you to use strong, complex passwords that you don’t have to remember. However, Password Managers are not always free and they themselves need to be really secure as if they are hacked, then all of your passwords will be accessible. Examples of Password Managers are Dashlane, LastPass and KeePass.