Passwords: a necessary evil

Passwords: a necessary evil

Passwords, pin codes, fingerprint readers, smart phones, banking, ATMs, personal and work email, internet services- as we become more and more connected as a society we must increase our vigilance around security.

Unfortunately following this methodology causes no end of frustrations as we not only have to come up with new passwords all of the time but we also have to remember which username and password combination is used on which system.

Throw in password complexity requirements where you need numbers, symbols, a mix of upper and lower case, minimum password lengths and a hieroglyphic and it becomes rather messy.

How do you manage it all?

Most modern windows computers running Chrome, Edge or Firefox have in-built password management available and Windows 7 onwards has an in-built credential manager.

OSX has it’s in-built Key Chain system.

But if the computer fails you lose everything.

Other options can include Password Management tools like LastPass, Dashlane etc. which utilise the cloud. (Here’s a great blog comparing popular password manager tools)

These tools  offer a far greater range of features and can really help take the hassle out of password management with the ability to generate secure passwords per system or website if required and automatically storing your passwords as well as detecting when you change a password.

But they are not perfect and can turn around and bite you especially if your master password falls into the wrong hands – a hacker would essentially have access to all of your logins.

Tips for using a password management tool

If you do go down the path of using a password management tool I have the following recommendations:

  1. Use a strong password that you can remember.

Try linking unrelated words and throwing in some random characters

  • $TwoBaldMobiles!
  • %GrassMoonTape*

Or try taking a common phrase and shortening the words – Making sure each word begins with a capital:

  • JuWaUnYoFaGeHo!

JustWaitUntilYourFatherGetsHome!

  • MoDoGrOnTr!

MoneyDoesntGrowOnTrees!

  • ElHaLeThBu!

ElvisHasLeftTheBuilding!

It is easier to remember a phrase you can speak out in your mind as you type so long as you can remember the format you have used.

  1. Enable 2 Factor Authentication

A code sent to only your personal or work mobile as an additional verification method means that even if your password falls into the wrong hands they can not get in.

  1. Setup your recovery options

You won’t want to lose access once you become completely dependant.

  1. Use the Security Challenge system

It will check for passwords used more than once, weak passwords and will allow you to fix any security vulnerabilities across the websites you access.

Passwords are a necessary evil but if you invest the time and find a tool that works for you and set it up correctly then the burden is greatly reduced while remaining secure.