How to remember Passwords?……Don’t

Posted on May 9, 2011 · Posted in Advice, Security

Unfortunately our lives are now full of the need to remember little bits of data called passwords.
The need for passwords and pin numbers are everywhere. A lot of websites use our email addresses as the login or user name, which makes things a little easier, but also makes the accounts we have on those websites collectively less secure.

Some people are using the same password for everything. This is an especially bad idea. If one website is hacked into that has your email address and your single password to everything, then those people that broke into the website now can potentially access all your other accounts in all the other websites you have accounts with.
This is NOT GOOD!

So we must have different passwords for every account in every website we need an account to use.
But uggghh, this seems very hard!!!
Before I give you a way to make this easy, I need to tell you something else.
The passwords should be strong passwords. But what does a strong password look like?
Check out this wikipedia page for more info but for a brief explanation….read on.

Using common words found in a dictionary is not strong.
Using a password like 1qaz2wsx, is not strong either. Any sequence on a keyboard can easily be added to a list such as a dictionary, to extend it for the purpose of breaking into a website account.

Dictionaries, real and extended, are used to break into accounts and computers.

Two examples of strong passwords are

  • I mi9ht l1ke to 51t @ taBles or ^ the fl00r
  • 9sLN4AwLyunpun

The first example, uses a sentence and mixes in some numbers that might look like letters. This is a good strategy as sentences are easy to remember and if you design yourself rules about where to put numbers and other symbols then it might not be all that hard to use. The downside is that to type this will take a while, there is likely to be some mistakes when typing it and not all websites will allow enough space in the password to fit the sentence, or special characters like @ or ^ might not be allowed by all websites.

The second example is a random sequence of numbers and letters. Nice and strong, but extremely difficult to remember.

However using either of these strategies across all your internet accounts with different passwords for each is going to be difficult.

So how to make it easy?

Use a Password Manager program like KeePass.

With KeePass you will never need to remember a password again and even better, not have to type website address, logins or passwords. Even better, you can manage your passwords across all your technology devices.

KeePass can give you random passwords or you can choose your own passwords.

KeePass or equilvalents will run on Windows 7, Windows Vista, Windows XP, Linux and Mac OSX Computer Systems as well as on Andriod, iPhone, Windows Phone 7 and Blackberry. It will even run from a USB Stick. So having the same list of passwords with you at all times is easy.

KeePass has received a lot of awards over the years and is highly regarded in the world of security. KeePass is free to download and use for personal and commerical purposes.

If you need any advice or training on KeePass and you are in our area, Computer Troubleshooters Croydon are available to help you to be more secure and productive.

Creative Commons Licence

Update: A password strength checker can be found here.
How to remember Passwords?……Don’t by Andrew Dent is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License.