Everything these days is password protected. From your banking information to your social media accounts, each one requires a different kind of password. Remembering them all and keeping them all straight is hard to do, but it is essential.
Think of it this way. You don’t want the same password protecting your Facebook account or Google+ that also guards your banking information. If someone were to get that one password somehow, they would have access to all your finances as well.
So, if having duplicate passwords is a bad idea, and you have dozens to remember, how do you manage them and keep them all straight while keeping your data secure?
Create Unique Passwords that are Memorable
One way to keep them all straight is to create passwords that are memorable in some unique way for each site. One option is to put a unique letter at the start or end of each password that indicates the site it is for. You can also use acronyms, initials, or unique numbers that you will associate with that particular site.
For instance, for your banking password most of the time you will need to have a symbol, number, and capital and lower-case letters. The password will have to be a certain length, so you can within that number of characters include the dollar sign and something that helps you associate that password with banking and money.
Don’t discount social media passwords and make them too simple though. This can result in them being breached, and the individual gaining access to your personal information that can then be used to reset other passwords and break into your other accounts.
Every piece of data you wish to protect should be password secured with a long password that is hard to guess, unique, but something you can remember easily.
Use a Password Manager
Because it is difficult to manage your passwords and remember them all and which one goes with what site, you can use a password manager to help. Usually, this is a program like Dashlane that keeps your passwords secure behind one master password, but allows you to have access to them.
Dashlane and other programs offer phone apps and other ways to keep your passwords at your fingertips while protecting them from others. This can be a great way to keep your data safe, provided that your master password is a good one, and that you can easily remember it.
Of course, there is a certain risk that comes with a password manager. It is essential that you keep your master password safe and that you change it often. If someone were to get that password, they would have access to all of your other ones.
This is another case where you want to make sure the password is not a duplicate one. You want this password to be perhaps the most unique of those that you use all the time.
Use a Password Generator
Often, websites will offer for you to use a password created by their random password generator. There are also programs, some of them part of password management programs, that will generate passwords for you, and even help you change multiple passwords at the same time.
This is a good thing to do if you can remember random numbers and letters easily or if you are using a strong password manager. These passwords, since they are truly randomly created, can be one of the best ways to protect your data and all of your information.
These can be brutally painful to remember, as they are created by computer programs that are designed to create passwords that are the most secure rather than the most memorable. However, sometimes you can use brain games or word associations to remember even long and seemingly random passwords.
A password generator may not be for everyone, but it can help some people keep their data secure.
Change it Up
Even small changes in passwords, one that you do frequently, can help keep your data more secure. This is important for a number of reasons, the chief of which is that if someone finds an older version of your password, or you have for some reason given it to someone else, after a certain time they will no longer have access to your data.
Doing something as simple as changing a number or a letter at the beginning of the end of the password is sufficient to keep it safe, but more dramatic changes are even better. This is another case where a password generator can be useful. Changing to another random password every few months makes your account exceptionally difficult to break into.
Long, unique passwords that contain letters, numbers, symbols, and vary in upper and lower case letters are much more secure and harder for a hacker to guess or crack. The more sensitive the data you are trying to protect is, the more important that password, the keys to that world, is. Follow the tips above to effectively manage passwords while keeping your data secure.