Recent incidents of hackers stealing millions of password files from sites like Linkedin are a reminder to choose both secure AND unique passwords for every site you visit – because even a secure password is no good if one site’s security is lax and it’s the same password you use for EVERY site.
I know – even an average user has a dozen or more web accounts requiring passwords (email, Facebook, Amazon, Google, a blog, bank and credit card sites, etc), so the thought of having to remember a different password for each one is daunting! But a simple memory+pattern trick makes it easy:
Most sites define a secure password as containing at least eight characters combining upper and lower case letters plus at least one number. So:
1. Choose a five or six-character word/phrase that’s easy to remember and contains one number and one capital letter, e.g., L8ter – this is your base password.
2. Decide on a pattern for choosing additional characters based on the name of the particular website to add to your base word to make it at least eight characters long.
For example: let’s say you decide to add the first three letters of the website’s name to the end of your base word. If the base word is L8ter, then
– Facebook password is L8terfac
– Google password is L8tergoo
You can make this as complex as you want (e.g., first letter of website in front of base word and next two letters after it, the three letters are all caps, etc,), as long as you are consistent.
Or if you are someone like me with over 400 passwords in use, buy an encrypted password safe application to store them. I recommend 1Password – it is available for Windows, Mac, iPhone, iPad and Android. The Pro version for iOS works on all Apple mobile devices AND lets you sync the database with your Mac or Windows PC.