How To Create And Keep Strong Passwords

Woman holding tablet in lap browsing a website.Your passwords are the keys to your life. And when it feels like there’s another big security breach every week, you want to be sure those passwords are strong and safe.

Follow the 6 steps below for super-strong passwords that will keep scammers guessing.

Step #1: Choose a password manager
The best way to ensure your passwords are secure is to use a password manager like 1password, Lastpass or Keepass. These services generate encrypted passwords for every website you use. You will then create one master password to use for logging into all of your accounts.

Step #2: Create an unbreakable master password
This code can open up every password of yours to potential scammers; so be extra careful about choosing one that is virtually unbreakable. Follow these rules for a strong password:

  • Make it long. Many sites require a password that is a minimum of 8 characters long, but a 12-character password is even stronger.
  • Be creative. Avoid using names, places and recognizable words, since these are easily cracked.
  • Mix it up. Vary your capitalization and the kinds of characters you use, switching back and forth from letters to numbers to symbols.

You can run your password through an online password checker like the one on OnlineDomainTools.com to test its strength. Once you’ve created a super-strong master password, work on memorizing it. Write it down and then rip up the paper as soon as you’ve memorized it.

Step #3: Update all your passwords
Next, sync all the websites and accounts you use with your password manager. Follow the guidelines on your password manager for this step, as they differ with each service.

When you’re through, you’ll only be able to log into these sites with your master password.

Some sites employ outdated systems that won’t work with a password manager. For these sites, you will need to use different passwords. You can slightly amend your master password for these sites or create new ones using the guidelines above. Use a different password for every site.

Step #4: Use two-factor authentication
Add another layer of protection by choosing two-factor authentication whenever you have that option.

Step #5: Be careful with security questions
Security questions are extremely insecure; anyone can Google the answers. If all a scammer has to do to retrieve your password is answer a security question, the strongest password is worthless.

Treat security questions like passwords. Never answer them truthfully. Instead, make up mnemonics or nonsensical answers that are difficult to crack, but easy for you to remember.

Step #6: Don’t let your browser or phone “remember” your passwords
Keep your passwords in your head and not on your devices. Otherwise, you’ll be in deep trouble if your computer or phone is swiped.

Your Turn:
What’s your best tip for creating a super-strong password? Share it with us in the comments.

SOURCES:
https://www.google.com/amp/s/lifehacker.com/how-to-create-a-strong-password-1797681069/am

https://lifehacker.com/four-methods-to-create-a-secure-password-youll-actually-1601854240

https://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2817,2407168,00.asp

How to Keep Track of Passwords Safely

Don’t leave your personal info vulnerable!

Passwords: You need thempasswordsafety_featured for nearly everything these days, and it seems like each website or account has its own unique specifications for their creation. And of course, it is strongly discouraged to use the same password for all sites. So how can you keep track of them all?

Expert technology writer Rick Broida of Computerworld wrote in an article for PCWorld that he discourages his friends from keeping lists in a text file, spreadsheet or other similarly insecure document.

“That’s a disaster waiting to happen. If a hacker ever finds his way onto one of their PCs, those passwords will be easier to steal than a whiff of chocolate at the Hershey factory,” Broida says. “What’s more, if one of my amigos ever needs access to those passwords while traveling, he’s out of luck. Same goes for a hard-drive crash: It’ll take down that password list along with everything else.”

The solution is simple. Utilize one of the multitude of password manager services out there, many of which are free and offer great, useful additional features. Here are some of the most recommended.

Clipperz
Access this free online password manager anywhere, and feel secure doing so.

“Storing passwords and other confidential information online can make [some people] nervous, but Clipperz uses an encryption method that means not even Clipperz knows what it’s storing,” writes productivity blogger Leo Babauta on Lifehack.com.

This is one of the solutions that stores more information than just passwords – Clipperz can save and remember credit card and account numbers and much more.

LastPass
For an app that utilizes fingerprint recognition and other biometric scanners, LastPass is surprisingly simple to use. Available on iOS and Android, and even alternative devices such as Windows Phones, the technology employs super-secure two-step authentication to access your information.

It too can store additional information, as well as capture Wi-Fi passwords, in a database-like interface – great for those trying to upgrade from an unprotected spreadsheet. It even offers a password generator feature to create a random password meeting all of a certain site’s specifications, and then it stores it safely and automatically.

However, Kit Eaton of the New York Times found that LastPass does have one drawback:

“While the app is free, to make the most of all its powers, like automatically filling in details on Web sites, you have to pay a subscription of $12 a year,” Eaton says in a 2013 article.

1Password
This may be one of the best-known password manager apps, and its popularity may be due in part to its amazing security. It doesn’t have two-step authentication, but it never sends data to servers, according to technology reporter for the Wall Street Journal Geoffrey A. Fowler.

“For the really paranoid, 1Password offers the most control over where your encrypted vault of passwords gets stored,” Fowler writes.

The tech allows you to sync passwords across devices using local Wi-Fi networks or Dropbox or other cloud-based service providers, which is a big plus due to its higher price and the fact that software for each platform (e.g., Mac, Windows, iOS) is sold separately.

Dashlane
Fowler recommends Dashlane for your secure password storage needs.

“Dashlane is like the memory you wish you had. It keeps track of not only passwords, but also credit card numbers and user IDs, filling them in when you need them across many different devices,” he explains.

It’s free to download on a single device, but there is a fee to use it – $30 a year allows the app to automatically sync your data across multiple devices. You can try it fee-free for 30 days.

The best part about Dashlane is its ease of use. Upon setup, the app and its web browser plug-ins find passwords that you’ve already been saving unencrypted on the internet and input them for you. It also has the unique ability to learn new passwords, usernames and much more automatically as you type them for the first time.

While each of these solutions comes with its own set of pros and cons, all are better than the alternative – an insecure, vulnerable set of passwords and account numbers.

Used with Permission. Published by IMN Bank Adviser Includes copyrighted material of IMakeNews, Inc. and its suppliers.