😃Hello. I hope you are all well. Today's posting is about security (as most of mine are). How many times have you heard the following: Passwords are your first line of defense in protecting your information? This is true, and more important with each day that passes.
Unfortunately, people often don’t use strong passwords, or change them frequently enough, making it easy for criminals to gain access. Hacked passwords are a leading cause of data breaches. Want to know if your data has been leaked to the bad guys? Check out https://haveibeenpwned.com/. Enter your email address, and if you have more than one be sure to run it on each. This tool allows you to quickly check to see if your email account has been compromised and enables you to sign up for notifications if your account is compromised in the future. You can search for a single email address, or all addresses in a particular domain (e.g., www.mycompanyname.com). It also includes millions of real-world passwords previously exposed in data breaches so you can be sure to avoid those. List the accounts, go to the accounts and change your password.
What's a good password you might ask? You can use a password manager to create passwords for you. The only password you will need to remember after that is the password for the password management program. The app will then fill in the secure passwords and ids/logins when you visit a site in your browser. I have used Dashlane and Roboform and can vouch for both programs. Each program, while providing the same service, perform a little different (and there are pros and cons to each). I will go over these programs in a future post.
But what if you want to be safe but don't want to use a program to generate your passwords. Well ~ that can be hard but not impossible. You need a system. One system that can work if followed is as follows: The first 4 letters on the website with the first letter capitalized + a symbol of your choosing + four numbers that you will remember. In the following example for Amazon I am using my childhood phone number for the numbers.
Amaz$4428 (this is nine digits, with upper and lower, symbols and numbers. It fits most rules). So following this if I was making a password for Zynga.com it would by Zyng$4428. As you can see the only thing that changes is the first four letters. Surely I can remember the rest of it. But what if you have to change a password? Well, I myself would pick a different symbol (or add another symbol). I would also change all my passwords using the new symbol. This methodology has helped many of my customers and may be a good solution for you or family members who have memory problems.
One other option would be to use a phrase or line from a song or title of a song that you really love. This is what I do to remember the password for the password manager app. Let's say my favorite band is Santana and my favorite song by Santana is Give Me Love, and my favorite line is Your All I Need. I could make a master password (taking into account you need UPPER, lower, symbols and numbers and at least 8 characters) that looks like this:
Below is a file you can print to help you understand the number to letter system. You see it all the time with custom license plates.
In the next post I will go over the different password managers that I have used and the pros and cons to each. Stay safe everyone.