Do you know how many passwords you have?
- Social media accounts
- Online banking accounts
A dozen? A hundred? Are you using different passwords or using the same? If a password is not strong enough, it is easily cracked by hackers. Your personal details may be disclosed or at worst, sensitive bank details may become readily available to hackers.
Nowadays so much of our daily technology is protected by passwords. Like your mobile phone, you need a password to unlock the screen and to use a Gmail account / Apple account to link up your phone to optimise the user experience. You also might use a password to protect your secret folders and some of the Apps that are installed on your phone. You can, therefore, imagine how a good password is closely related to our daily life.
Types of SECURE passwords
1. Random password
Random passwords are comprised of a non-meaningful string.
9nr3H(t_^e?RHyT7 is an example of a random password. There are lots of free random password software or online tools on the Internet. Most of the generators are based on an algorithm and follow a pattern to create the “random” password. Although those passwords may not be as random as you see, they are still very safe to use.
2. Long password with different characters
To guide the user to create a secure password, most applications request their user to set up a password based on the below criteria.
- Password must be at least 8 characters in length
- Cannot be based on dictionary words/ common names
- Must contain at least 3 of the different types of characters: lower case letters, upper case letters, numbers and special characters.
Here is a tip to make a memorable long password.
“Dublin is the capital city of Ireland”, we can convert it into a long password: Dub1initcc01re1anD
How to keep your password protected
1. Protect your security question
If you really forget your password, most of the applications can let you reset it. However, the most important thing is that you can answer your security question correctly. That means that your security question’s answer is as important as your password.
2. 2-step verification
It is better to add a “second factor” to the login process. In most cases, the second factor is tied to your phone. Most applications will ask for your mobile phone number. Let’s say, when you create a new account for an instant messenger, it asks for your number and sends you a pin. Besides your password, you need that given pin to complete the registration.
If a hacker got your password, he can’t login to your account unless he also has our mobile phone to receive the pin.
3. Use Password manager
The password manager is such a handy tool to store all of your passwords in an encrypted and secure way. It also helps you to memorize all the passwords.
LastPass is one of the popular password managers which provides free and premium versions.
Here is an example of how it works:
Step 1: Download the plug-in and add to browser
Step 2: Sign up for a free account
Step 3: Once your account has been registered, visit the dashboard and add your particular account details and passwords.
- I added my Google account detail
Step 4: Visit Google and log in. Once you fill in your username that you added to your LastPass account, it helps you auto-fill the password at login form.
Step 5: Once LastPass detects a new login detail via your browser, it will show a popup to ask you if you want to add it to LastPass. It so simple and handy.
Maybe it seems too risky to store all of your passwords in one place. However, all reputable password managers encrypt their databases with a “master password” which is secure as it is never gets sent to a server.
4. Old school method
If all else fails, rite them on a piece of paper and keep it in a safe place but there should never be any indication of which password relates to which application.
Using different passwords
Don’t use the same password for all of your applications.
Try to apply the above guidelines to manage your passwords and remember to change your passwords regularly.