Recently at The Business Woman’s Network I met a woman who stored over 200 login names and passwords in an Excel spreadsheet – And the spreadsheet wasn’t password protected! So if her computer was ever stolen then the lucky thief would have access to all of her many accounts!
And yet another woman used one password everywhere!
This horrified me but didn’t surprise me. I have – well I don’t know how many passwords I have, let’s just say lots. And each one is different and none of them are written down. As Harry Hill says “You’ve got to have a system!”…….
So here we go, how to have different passwords everywhere and never forget them.
First let me say that there is no such thing as an uncrackable password – given enough time and the right tools a dedicated hacker will crack anything. It’s our job to make it as hard as possible so they give up and go the person who has picked their favourite colour as a password.
What makes a good password?
A good password will mix letters, numbers and non-alphanumeric characters or symbols. Don’t use a word that is in the dictionary – hackers have programs that can try thousands of different passwords and try all the words in a dictionary.
It needs to be at least 6 characters long – although I would recommend at least 10 characters (No, don’t say you can’t remember 10 characters – I’m going to teach you a system!)
This is a three step process.
Step One – The phrase/line that all your passwords are based on.
This might be from a song, a poem, your favourite book.
For example, Raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens
Take the first letter of each word and we get “rorawok” as the base phrase.
Step Two – The variation for each site
For this we are going to use part of the site name, for example, the last three letters.
So on Amazon we’d take zon and add it on to our base phrase to get rorawokzon
Step Three – Add some numbers and/or non-alphanumeric characters.
Hold on, this is getting tricky I hear you cry -we’re up to 10 characters already.
Stay with me, and I promise it will be easy.
We can substitute numbers and other non-alphanumerics.
You don’t to use all these suggestions – just swapping one letter is a good start.
Just decide on your personal rule and stick to it.
Letter swap suggestions
S > 5
l or i > 1
E > 3 or £
a > @
o > 0
g or q > 4
So if I swap the ‘a’ for a ‘@’ then my password for amazon would be ror@wokzon
Final tweek is to have a mixture of lowercase and upper case and to give myself another easy rule to remember I will make the letter after a symbol/number to be a capital so my password ends up as being ror@Wokzon.
This system means that you will be able to have hundreds of passwords and always remember them without having to write them down.
And it means that hackers will find it harder to crack your passwords and so you’ll be safer!