Password Security and Good Measures

The worse password of 2018 was “password”.  

It wont take long for a hacker to gain access to any of your websites / computer (and hopefully not) your bank if your password is an easy to guess word and I highly recommend using a different password for every site you use and make your passwords as difficult as possible to guess – DO NOT USE names, places or words that are in the dictionary.

However, passwords are getting so complicated that trying to recall characters, numbers and symbols for every different website you use impossible.  I barely remember what had for breakfast every day and I still have very complicated passwords for every site I use.  The only way I can do this is to use a password manager.

Password Protect your Mac

Free Password Manager Software

LastPass is an online password manager that makes web browsing easier and more secure and you only need to remember ONE master password to be secure.  LastPass will automatically fills in your saved logins and passwords, and you can complete entire forms with the click of a button – (I can’t remember the last time I manually filled in my name, address, email etc on a website).

LastPass also gives you the option to store your credit card details which means whenever you buy anything online, with a simple click of a button all your details are completed, name, address, card details!

Worried about security?  Don’t?  LastPass uses the latest security your online banking uses and your master password is your encryption key which means the data stored on the LastPass servers is only readable by using your master password (ensure you make your master password difficult to guess – see below on best practises for creating passwords).

This amazing freebie also syncs your data to any computer that you use regularly which makes this a much more reliable – and importantly safer alternative to your yellow Post-its!

How to determine what is a good or bad password

A good password is a combination of upper and lower case letters, numbers and symbols that do not form a readable word.  For example, using !EasyPassword10! would be considered a strong password because it contains UPPER and lower case letters, numbers and symbols.  To test how secure your password is I recommend using the following websites: How Secure Is My Password or Password Meter.  According to these sites, my regular (and easy to remember) password will take 59 years to crack and scores 89%.

If you don’t want to use a password manager then here’s some suggestions on how to secure your password:

  • Make the password at least eight characters long which is harder for someone to guess.  The more characters the better.
  • Use both UPPER and lower case letters.  Passwords are case sensitive and changing the case will increase its strength.
  • Use numbers and especially in the middle of your password.

Here’s what NOT to do:

  • Don’t use single words or numbers for instance, don’t use “paul” or “paul1977”
  • Don’t use any word that can be found in a dictionary (not just the English dictionary, but any language dictionary).
  • Don’t use simple numbers like a birthday or a phone number.
  • In fact, don’t use any personal information.  Even when combined with letters and numbers this would be easy for someone who knows you (or can research you online) can guess.
  • Don’t just substitute look-alike numbers for letters in a word.  For example, don’t just change “paul” to “pau1”.  You need to make passwords more complicated.
  • Don’t reverse words.  It’s not hard to guess a reversed word.  For example, don’t change “password” to “drowssap”.
  • Don’t write down your password.  If it’s written down it’s not secure!
  • Don’t use the same password for every website.  If you use the same password everywhere, a single guess or defeat of the password can expose your all information on every site!
  • Use a password manager to manage your passwords

If you would like help and assistance with your computer security, passwords or you would like us to perform a full security audit of your computer(s) including your home wireless then we’d be pleased to help you.  Simply contact us or drop into our shop for more information.