CHANGE YOUR PASSWORD!! But TO WHAT and HOW?
Everyone has their knickers in a twist about this new security threat and are shouting “CHANGE YOUR PASSWORDS!!” But few of us will because it’s a major pain in the a$$. Right? Let me make it easy for you.
Be aware that 90% of passwords can be broken in 20 minutes or less because we choose public information. You think you can’t remember anything else. Sit tight. We’ll get to that in a minute.
4 Rules for a Secure Password:
1) At least 8 characters long
2) Combination of letters and numbers
3) At least one capital letter
4) Avoid public information (no birth dates, family names)
WRITE IT DOWN before you type the password in so there’s no chance of making a mistake. No matter how speedy a typist you are, type the password one finger at a time to be sure you get it right.
My theory is you only need ONE core password to build all passwords off of so you can remember it.
The password should be memorable for you, but not easily guessed. Here are some sample passwords that, when translated, anyone can remember:
gr8Sh0eS = great shoes
Dont4g3t = don’t forget
sK00bsdiK = kids books (backwards)
I’m not suggesting you use the above, but let them inspire you. What is it that you love to do, buy, or eat? Use gr8 as a suffix to that thing. Use 4 for the word “for.” Flip a 3 to replace an E. Use zero for the letter O.
When you write it down:
– Underline the capital letter (s vs S)
– Slash zeros so you don’t mistake it for the letter O
– Add a hook and a platform on the number one so you know it isn’t the letter l
Okay, now let’s harness your passwords so you don’t have to remember a thousand of them.
One password for all of your email addresses. (If an email account gets compromised, you’ll change them all.)
One password for banking and banking alone. (This is the password that is a stand alone password to make your banking password the most secure.)
One password for ALL OTHER WEBSITES. (A core password that will be easy for you to remember, but slightly different for every website.)
Let’s work with the password gr8Sh0eS. That is our core password and will be used for all email addresses. For banking we want something relating to gr8Sh0eS, but not the same. How about HighH33ls? It meets the 4 rules.
Now onto the password for EVERYTHING else…Website addresses don’t change facebook.com will always be facebook.com, askabbystokes.com will always be askabbystokes.com, usps.gov will always be usps.gov.
So, let’s work with that. Take your core password- gr8Sh0eS – choose the first two letters or the last two letters of the website you’re visiting and add them in some way to your password.
facebook.com = fgr8Sh0eSa The first letter of the site is the first letter of the password, the second letter of the site is the last letter password.
askabbystokes.com = egr8Sh0eSs The second to last letter of the site is the first letter of the password, the last letter of the site is the last letter of the password.
usps.gov = sgr8Sh0eSu The first letter of the site is the last letter of the password and the second letter of the site is the first letter of the password.
Got it? So you only have to remember the core password and whatever your “trick” is. Again, write down one sample for yourself so you don’t forget.
Okay. Our last hurdle. How to tackle changing all your passwords?
Don’t think about changing ALL your passwords at once. You’ll never start if it seems too hard to finish. First change your email passwords and your banking password. Then, whenever you naturally visit the rest of the websites with a password, change it. Roll it out at your convenience…at least you’re getting it done.
How to find where to change you password? Look for the words below either at the top right or the bottom of a website.
Preferences, Options, Settings, Account, Manage
If you can’t remember the current password, click on “Forgot My Password” and reset it to the new one.
Now you have NO EXCUSES. Go forth and make your cyber life more secure.