Are you always forgetting your passwords? Worried that your passwords are completely not secure? These are some great password tips!
For my first trick, I will read your mind. Close your eyes. Think of your favorite three passwords and picture them clearly. Hmmmm. It’s a little hazy, but I clearly see a relative’s name, a birthday, an anniversary, and maybe a small piece of your phone number. Impressed? You shouldn’t be. Though passwords are supposed to be random, we are all human. When told to choose something memorable, we take facts and figures that we will (hopefully) never forget, like our children’s names or an anniversary. This tendency greatly helps hackers trying to force their way into the innermost chambers of our secure Online Identities. On the other hand, if we try and randomize passwords and make them complex, we can’t remember them at all. There is nothing more frustrating than being locked out of your own account because you were trying to lock out everyone else! So, what’s a responsible human to do? Let’s learn some Password Picking survival skills.
Check out these two passwords: Password 1: Chulentisnevergreen!! Password 2: Ir~Gh^89d. Which is more secure? The answer may surprise you but according to Kaspersky’s password checker, using a standard home computer, Password 1 would take over 10,000 centuries to break, while Password 2 would take just 2 months! Why is that? The golden rule is: Length beats complexity. Since Password 1 is a whopping 21 characters and Password 2 is only 9, Password 1 is a much better choice. If we learn to choose PASSPHRASES instead of PASSWORDS they can be easy to remember AND really secure. So, choose a passphrase (bonus points if it contains a Hebrew word), throw in a random character and mix with a small pinch of uppercase letters. No healthy human adult should have trouble remembering that Chulent is never green!!
Another common problem is the vast amounts of passwords we use. We have passwords for banking, email, utilities, credit cards, health portals, government portals, online shopping…. On and on. Security gurus make it even more fun with well-meaning guidance: “Don’t ever re-use your passwords!!” If you do, should your one password get out, you are totally exposed. While we can remember a passphrase or twenty, it’s not feasible to remember so many of them. Here’s my secret method (please don’t share it with anyone). Mentally separate your password logins into categories; most important to least. Banking and email at the top, credit cards and health info next, eCommerce websites after that, and so on. Memorize and use just one phrase per category. This will mean that should any password get out, you will only need to update your password for the other accounts in that category. This will greatly reduce the number of Passphrases your poor brain will need to absorb.
“What if I STILL can’t handle all my passwords?” You my friend, will need to use a password manager. A password manager is designed to ingest all passwords and store them securely behind a single master password. Some common providers of this service are: Lastpass, Dashlane, and Roboform. I would urge you not to store your most critical passwords there, in case they get breached, but everything else is fine. That would leave you with just a few passphrases. Your most critical ones, and your Password Manager login.
No doubt about it, the password system is flawed. We will have to contend with it though till something better comes along. Until then, these tips will hopefully help us survive and keep our Online Identities, safe and secure.