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5 Tips To Keep Your Passwords Safe

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So, Twitter couldn’t protect all their passwords, and a bunch of them were published for all to see – over 55,000 of them were stolen by hackers and listed online. There’s plenty of information about this breach if you want to read up on it, but the highlights are:

  • Over 20,000 of the accounts are claimed to be duplicates, spam or deleted accounts
  • The majority of accounts appear to be from Brazil, and in Portugese
  • Most of the accounts were hacked last summer
  • Twitter are investigating, and have sent password resets to those people it thinks is affected

A Password Heavy Society

Password protectionWe have far too many passwords!

We’ve got far too many passwords. We have password for this, passwords for that, and passwords for loads of other stuff too. We have passwords for banking, email, Facebook, Twitter, iTunes and dozens more. Most of us will have a work password, but in the corporate world, many of you will have multiple passwords for the many systems that we use. In the technology space, computer geeks can have dozens, if not hundreds of passwords, and to make matters a thousand times worse, are forced to change them every thirty days or so.

As complex as this may be, it could be manageable, but the problem is that we also passwords for a whole load of shit as well. There’s forums, chatrooms, torrents, password sites, music sites and every eCommerce site that we’ve signed up for. One of the largest providers of web content – adult web sites – all require password entry. You can’t do anything online nowadays without putting a password in!!!

The problem is that the later group of sites are not what I would exactly call trustworthy sources, and you can almost guarantee that a percentage of these sites are collecting you data for other activities.

How do most of us manage passwords?

Many people often use the same password for everything, and this poses some serious risks. It only takes one bad person, or hacker, to use information gained in one place to hack into everything else. JUST DON’T DO IT!

Fair enough, some of us have photogrpahic memories and can magically remember 150 different passwords for every site that we use, but most of us can’t remember what we had for breakfast this morning. I can’t!

As a result, many of us will use the rather complicated system of writting them down on pieces of yellow sticky paper and then thrown into a drawer. The more imaginative of us write them in a book (or a diary) and leave it on our desk! Not the most secure system in the world!!

One of the most logical things to do (and also extremely dangerous), is to put them all in a spreadsheet, or a word document, and save them on our computer. Again, not very sensible if you lose it, or have your computer hacked or stolen.

What can I do to protect my passwords then?

Keep Your Passwords Safe

  • Don’t use the same password – EVER! Don’t write them on sticky bits of paper and don’t tell anyone – EVER!
  • Use a low, medium and high variation of the same single word and mix it up with upper case, special characters and numbers. PasSw0rd is better than password. P@s5w0rD2012 is much safer.
  • Use three different words for your “safe, standard and unsafe” needs. Use your spam password, your regular (or common) password, and your safe password.
  • Mix up your “safe, standard, and unsafe” words with character variations using the method above. This way, you only have to remember, let’s say, three variations of three words – nine in all. That’s not too bad is it? If you enter it incorrectly because you got it wrong, the chances are you’ll get it right at the second, or third attempt.
  • Use a password management tool to securely store all your passwords (see below)

Password Management The Secure Way

For those more advanced, more technical, or simply more worried/paraniod, there are password management tools on the market that do a good job of keeping all your passwords safe, and away from prying eyes. They oftem allow you to store them in a central location, protected by a single password so that you only have to remember one piece of information. Imagine a secure excel spreadsheet that is password protected (and before you think that’s a great idea, excel is NOT SECURE).

For more detailed information, check out this review site on the 5 best password managers. Personally, I recommend keypass, but I’m sure that they would all work well.

Stay safe….

About Adrian Britton

Sometimes I will talk about things that are interesting, and sometimes I won’t. Sometimes it will be a bit of a laugh, and sometimes it will just be a downright rant about something going on in the world – I’m often accused at moaning a lot, and I consider myself quite good at it !!

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