In the previous articles, we’ve tackled several weaknesses of passwords and how we can prevent their exploitation by changing them into stronger passwords that are easy to remember yet hard to decipher. If you haven’t read them yet then you can go ahead and click on these links for Part 1 and Part 2.
We’re now on our third and final installment of our Password 101 series. We already have made our stronger passwords and have applied them to all our online accounts. We have a different password for Facebook, another one for Twitter, another one for our email, and so on. The last hurdle to overcome would be actually REMEMBERING those passwords. What can we do to minimize password mix ups and what can we do to prevent account compromise?
- DO change your password regularly, about every six months.
- DO keep your password to yourself. Never give out your password to anyone, even to family members or close friends.
- DO be creative in password making. While the steps we have outlined are effective, you can also try different variants such as using l33tspeak, using a cipher you made yourself, making clever passphrases as hints, and so on.
- DO practice typing in your passwords quickly. Super strong passwords can still be figured out by someone else especially if you take a long time in looking for the next character to input on your keyboard.
- DON’T provide your password (any sensitive information, really) if someone asks for it through your email or through IM. A lot of people have been compromised by hackers masquerading as support personnel.
- DON’T save passwords in your computer. Obviously, don’t ever save passwords in a SHARED computer. Always log off before leaving a shared computer.
- DON’T EVER WRITE FULL PASSWORDS ANYWHERE. I cannot stress this enough. Bearing in mind the simple technique that we’ve made for each website, remembering those passwords and inputting the correct symbols and numbers should be easy as pie.
- If you absolutely have to write them down to keep from forgetting them, make a simple cipher instead. For example, uniformly replace the letter ‘s’ with the symbol ‘&’ in your passwords.
If you are really having extreme difficulty in making or remembering secure passwords, consider using a password manager. PCMag offers a great review of the best password managers in the market in their website.
There you have it! I hope this series has been helpful for you. If you have any comments, questions or suggestions, feel free to comment below. Safe surfing, everyone!