“qwerty”, “password”, “12345” or “iloveyou” remain among the most insecure and popular passwords. These passwords provide a gateway to 10% of the 5 million accounts that were studied by research company, Splash Data.
It is simple: Passwords are personal. Don’t share them with friends. Don’t leave them lying around. Change them often; they are like underwear. People are leaving the front door to their most personal information unlocked and wide open.
The catch with password creation is that if you create one that is simple, it isn’t safe. If you create one that is safe, you will never remember it.
Keep it in the vault
An approach that is safe is called ‘password vaulting’, in which you keep all your passwords stored in an encrypted database protected with a ‘master password’. Most web browsers use this method, and they can automatically fill in your password information when you are visiting a favourite website.
Keep a list
Another simplified approach is a password-protected Microsoft Word document or Excel or Google document spreadsheet.
The traditional offline approach is a sheet of paper that lists all your passwords. Make sure that it is an unlabelled list with your accounts and passwords, and put it in a place that is secure such as a safe or an unlabelled folder in a filing cabinet.
Whichever method you take, you should consider these tips:
- Choose a password of eight characters or more, each with upper and lower case letters at least one number, and at least one distinctive sign (%,$,#)
- Change your passwords every six weeks.The safest passwords do not contain words, which are vulnerable to hackers using tools that churn through every word in the dictionary.
- To make passwords more manageable consider using a phrase as your starting point. For instance, a cricket fan might say “Australia is going to beat England in the Ashes,” then take the first letter of each word to come up with AigtbEitA . Add todays date and a special character and you have AigtbEitA@01.
- Never use the same password for more than one site.
Simon is a Sydney based digital designer. He is the Director of a boutique digital design studio, Bailey Street Design located in the vibrant inner west suburb of Newtown. Simon studied graphic design at Shillington College and specialises in web design for small and medium size businesses. Simon and his team (Toby the studio dog) are passionate about visual communication in the digital environment
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