We have way too many passwords in our lives. I agree with this. But simplifying them to only using a few variations is not safe. Think about a progressive type of puzzle or video game. You get one key, you can take that key and go to the next level. You may even be able to access several secret levels with that same key. Same with passwords. If you are hacked, or one of your online accounts is hacked, there are vicious programs written to scour the dark web, the regular internet, apps, typical login account pages such as Amazon, YouTube and the like using that same email/password combo. People are LAZY. We use the same username and a small group of passwords typically. This creates enormous vulnerability. The other part of this created vulnerability is if we also have weak passwords such as a typical word, or a word alternating the letters for caps, or numbers – 3 is typically used for an E or e. @ for an a or A.
A password saving tool allows you to clean out your browser of stored password and help you generate passwords that are most secure without your having to remember them. Make sure whatever tool you use includes an app for your phone and other devices. One password for access to all of your passwords everywhere. With these tools, a SUPER secure, unique, password is required. Usually a sentence with punctuation and numbers is your best bet! Start thinking of something you will remember from anywhere.
To prove a point as to how vulnerable your existing passwords are, keep reading. This is to drive home you need a tool to help you and evaluate your existing passwords so you can go through an update them all to something more current. I can always tell when a login hasn’t been used in a few years or was created long ago by my password. It’s good to clean house annually and change them out. Using these password tools makes it easy. It’s up to you if you want to export that list, print it and store it somewhere. If you do, remember to do it again annually when you go through and change them all. Put the list in a firesafe or fire safe box. Add the reminder to your calendar and then DO IT each year.
A few points on passwords. See if you pass these tests:
- Don’t re-use passwords. One creative and very secure one won’t be any good if someone finds it.
- While combining upper and lower case passwords with numbers to alter a memorable word – C@51t@s instead of casitas – is often advised, these are more easily cracked than you might think.
- Good advice is to make a memorable, unusual sentence: “I hated that girl, Charlene, in first grade.” or “My mom weird, she’s allergic to water.” is better than “I love puppies.”, and use the first letter of each word with punctuation: “Iaa7-ftmg” Using a sentence with punctuation, too, and nothing typical, something personal. Consider a typo in a word, too. I’ve used some sentences with improper punctuation to throw things off.
- Alternatively, you can use a password manager such as 1Password, LastPass (my favorite), which can generate secure passwords and stores them encrypted online.
- The best way to protect yourself is to use two-factor authentication, which will send a text with a code or use an app to verify your log-in. YES, these are a pain in the butt, AND they assure that only you and your cellphone authorizes who can access the account.
I also store specific lists for specific clients online using Google Drive, as it is secure and encrypted on upload AND at rest.
There is a much larger list, but it’s not G rated. Even though people have improved the security and strength of their passwords, there are still a huge number of people who pick from a very small list of common passwords. Check this out – 91% of all user passwords sampled all appear on the list of just the top 1,000 passwords. Here is a list of the most common 25 passwords as of 2016:
Try this in an incognito window – test the strength of some of your most used passwords. THEN, go change them, because chances are you didn’t get a 100% rating.