When I describe my password habits to some people, they often act a bit confused:
- I have a different, secure password for every website
- I don’t memorize any of them
- I never have a problem logging in
I’ve talked to many people over the last year about their password habits, and it’s amazing to me that so many people have bad password habits. Most people, even the techies that I know, have numerous online accounts that are so easy to break into that it’s surprising that they haven’t already. And for the rest of the masses that constantly forget their passwords, I’m always slightly embarrassed for them when they switch to a different computer and can’t log into their accounts.
Luckily, I have a few easy tips for keeping your passwords secure, unique, and easy to figure out when you forget them.
Remembering Different Passwords for Different Sites
This is one of those tips that’s so simple and easy to implement, but most people don’t know it. By following it, though, you’ll be able to create unique passwords easily for every single website you have an account on, and yet never have a problem logging in.
- Choose a unique code that is the same for every website, such as “1795a”
- Create a unique combo of characters based on the URL of the site, like selecting the first five letters of a domain (for this site: “anoth”)
- Combine the two: “anoth1795a”
Let’s say my unique code is “O!l2d” and my URL combo is the first two letters plus the last two letters of the domain. Here are a few examples:
- My Gmail password becomes ilO!l2dgm (last two letters + code + first two letters)
- Facebook becomes okO!l2dfa (ok + O!l2d + fa)
- Instagram becomes amO!l2din (am + O!l2d + in)
All that I have to do for any website that I join is remember O!l2d, and I will always have a secure account with a different password that I’ll never forget.
Use Whole Words Instead of Random Letters
Did you know that the longer the password, the harder it is for a stranger or hacker-bot to figure out? Even if you use normal English words, this is true.
“hihowareyoutoday” is many times more secure than “A1jk$s5” just by the simple nature of it being longer, even though the second option has symbols, numbers, and different cases of letters.
In fact, “hihowareyoutoday” will take 345 THOUSAND YEARS for a computer to break (according to this website), but “A1jk$s5” will only take one hour. Wow.
Using the first tip and this tip together, you could have a code like “thisismypassword” and a URL combo to create passwords like:
- Gmail – “ilthisismypasswordgm”
- Facebook – “okthisismypasswordfa”
- Instagram – “amthisismypasswordin”
Each of those are estimated to take 157 billion years to crack. That “billion” is intentional. Double Wow.
Use a Secure Password Manager (not Your Browser)
Your internet browser probably has a password manager that you’ve seen pop up a few times. These are incredibly insecure, are open to a variety of malicious attacks, and don’t sync your password across devices.
While no password manager is entirely without flaws, I have found incredibly luck with the secure, cross-platform password manager LastPass (↚ referral link), which I have installed on all of my devices.
LastPass is great because it prevents malicious attacks on your accounts, auto-fills password fields to bypass keylogging software from stealing your passwords, has two-factor authentication to increase security on your accounts, and syncs your data across all of your computers and mobile devices.
Plus, LastPass notifies its users of insecure passwords, major security breaches for different websites (link bank accounts), and makes it super easy for users to change their passwords on a regular basis (businesses could use this so their employees have more secure passwords across the company).
Using all three of these tips together, I not only have an incredibly secure password, but I also never have to type them in or even remember them. My security is increased, my vulnerability to attacks is significantly decreased, and I can have the same security across all devices and web accounts.
This tips are easy to implement and free to use – so what’s stopping you now?
Get started, and protect yourself today.