Passwords used to get us into cool places like speakeasies or club treehouses, now they simply get us onto our computers or online. If you’re the average person, you have many different accounts (23 on average) that require a password: work computer, home computer, iTunes, Amazon, Gmail, Facebook, TurboTax, the list goes on and on. Managing those passwords is key to keeping your information safe. Here are our 5 tips for better passwords and password management.
- Unique passwords for every site. This is critical to staying safe, albeit a giant pain. However, when your password is stolen off one site (like what happened with LinkedIn or Marriott), you are only required to change your password in one place, not the other 22 where you used the same password.
- Passphrases. Use passphrases as opposed to passwords for every site. Passphrases help you in many ways: they’re longer, so they’re less likely to be cracked; they’re more memorable because of the phrase; they can incorporate numbers and punctuation to mix it up and make it more secure.
- Steer clear of personal information. Don’t include words in your passphrase that would be easy to guess after looking through your Facebook page (birthday, anniversary, spouse name, kids’ names, pet name, etc.). Random words aren’t easily guessed, so stick with something that won’t be easily cracked.
- Always use two-factor authentication. Knowns as 2FA or MFA (multi-factor authentication) this is used more often now, and Google or Facebook will send you a text to verify you’re the right user. This can be annoying when you’re in a hurry, but it makes hackers look for a new target.
- Use a password manager. These come in many shapes and sizes. Whether you use something like LastPass, Dashlane or 1Password which work across devices or use iCloud Keychain because you’re an Apple user, password managers make it much easier because you don’t have to remember every password, just the master password for your password manager.
As you clean up those old passwords with better passphrases and have better password management, you can remain safer and more secure online and keep would-be hackers at bay.