My friend who works for British Telecom as a Network technician actually mentioned this to me the other day over a fine cool pint of Beck’s.
The usual discussions over technical aspects turned into the one of the ‘Password’. The ongoing struggle to retain memory of various passwords without resorting to the same one each time. We actually got onto this subject because of a worrying trend in the spammers, phishing, and other nefarious types who try to ‘steal’ your personal information from you, the password being the holy grail.
They now target the less sophisticated sites, such as your social networks, your blog etc. If they can steal your password from these sites, then they betting that at some point, they will find someone who uses the same password for their bank accounts, eBay, PayPal etc. Which is worryingly a very valid gamble. Up to quite recently, I was not particularly varied with my passwords. Although my main one was in itself ‘very strong’ it was often used time and time again.
This news became the reason why we just talked about the best ways to manage your passwords without relying on 3rd Party software applications that claim to manage all your passwords. Any application like this poses some threat. I don’t like the idea of keeping all my ‘passwords’ in one place.
Simple solution is thus.
Create one main password, upwards of 8 characters, with numbers and letters, lower case and uppercase. The usual suspects. This you can then remember as you will be using this as the foundation for all subsequent passwords.
This next bit is the icing on the cake and will make sure that you can create a unique memorable password for EVERY site, bank account, eBay, PayPal, Blog, Social Network that you have and will continue to add to.
For example, if you need a new password for say, a new bank like First Direct use any combination of letters from those two words. You could use the first 2 letters ‘FI’. Then you decide where these letters will sit on your main password.
So for example, if you main password was ‘ImReally28YearsOldNot36’ then you could add ‘FI’ to the beginning, the end or the middle, thus for example: ‘ImReally28YearsOldNot36FI’.
Then apply the same logic to each new site. So if it’s a new WordPress Blog, it would become ‘ImReally28YearsOldNot36WO’. How you arrange the additional letters is up to you, you could choose any number of letters depending on how ‘strong’ you want it to be.
This way you create a unique password for every new site and it’s dead easy to remember, as long as you keep to the same format. Each time you log on, your reminder is the name of the site you are logging onto. Magic. You should never ever forget a password again, and you will not have to rely on using the same exact password for everything any more or reliance on the many password applications designed to ‘manage’ your passwords.
Ensure that you start changing your really important passwords first.
Online Banks and Credit Card websites. And anything else that relies on super sensitive information: eBay and Paypal. Just incase that in the past your previous passwords might have bee compromised. Even if at any previous point your various Web passwords have been ‘grabbed’ then as long as you have made the above changes to the crucial sites, then all ‘should’ be well. Mine have been ‘stolen’ and it’s not a pleasant experience in the slightest.
Once you have done the most important then really the main threat is over. Then you can make the laborious task of changing all your existing passwords etc if you really want to.
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