The most common solutions for keeping track of your computer passwords no longer provide enough protection. Are you still doing the following?
- Picking obvious passwords, such as 123456, abc123, [Your Pet’s Name] or [Your Mother’s Maiden Name]. Problem: Many people can guess these easily and break into your accounts.
- Using the same password for multiple accounts. Problem: This allows a person who knows your password to access more than one of your accounts.
- Taping password reminders to your computer screen or leaving them in the top drawer of your desk. Problem: They are easily accessible to anyone who enters your home or office.
When it comes to passwords, one of the most common, riskiest, and dangerous password strategies is guaranteed to one day result in—yes—self-inflicted psychological, physical, and financial trauma (i.e., hacked email and bank accounts).
Just ask @thejohnwolf, who had to cancel nearly everything and start over. Banks and credit agencies aren’t the easiest to deal with.
We all either follow this strategy now, or used to in the past:
The human condition of “it won’t happen to me” leads us to use the same exact password for nearly every site we sign up for.
But this ends here, right now! Otherwise—and trust me on this—you’re just asking for it. Worst-case scenario, of course, is identity theft.
Why bring this up?
Well, with what seems like an endless stream of friends and colleagues asking for help after last week’s rapid succession of Twitter phishing attacks, hacked email accounts, trojans, and so on, I finally found Gina Trapani’s list of strategies for creating secure passwords.
I tried to describe it to a few people—”Oh, you just create a keyword and put the site’s initials in the front of it!”—only to realize I missed a few key elements. For the life of me I couldn’t remember where I read this article, but I knew it was in one of my piles of old magazines somewhere.
Saving myself the trouble, I just searched for it. Thanks Google!
Trapani’s method is clear, straightforward, and easy to use so that your passwords are different for each site, more secure, and most of all, easy to remember!