Do you have a strong password strategy which is easy to remember but hard to guess? How do you keep these passwords safe? Well not many people can answer this question with surety. With some basic logic, creating a password and keeping it safe is not a rocket science. Here I am sharing a proven logic with you.
To make it easy to understand let’s segregate the users in two parts.
Type 1: User with less than 25 passwords
Type 2: User with more than 25 passwords.
Why segregate them? because they face slightly different problems. The issues with type 1 users are first, making a tough but simple to remember password. Second keeping them safe, while the type 2 user also face these issues they also face another issue i.e., not to reuse the password and changing the passwords on regular basis. These is the hardest part.
Web is full of advice on how to keep your password safe but are they practical? In my experience no. so what is practical, well the advice below is easy to implement.
For Type 1 user: Will define password strategy in two parts
Let’s make some password rules. Why rules? Well these rules will work as logic for you and you can create your own rules but make sure you don’t share your rules with anyone else and always follow the same rules. Feel free to amend these rules before implementing, but obey them each and every time and forever. Why always obey them? So that you don’t have to remember them after a while as they will become logic for you. Some basic examples of rules are below.
Rule 1: Password must always be made from phrase which contains 3 words and always use first three letters of word. if phrase is “Melbourne Geeks Rocks” so your password would be “melgeeroc”
Rule 2: Initial letter of first word and last letter of second word will always be upper case. For eg MelGeeroc
Rule 3: Use at least two digits in password and make a set pattern like “digit in beginning and end of word” or“beginning of first and second word” or “before second word and in the end of last word. For example, my lucky number is 6 so “6MelGee6Roc” in this case; logic is number in beginning of first and last word.
Rule 4: This rule is specifically helpful for those websites who force user to change the password every 4 months etc. You can create a numeric rule like your lucky number is 6 so you can keep the same password by changing the number with following logic
- Jan – Apr: keep the number 6 so password would be 6MelGee6Roc
- May – Aug: go up by next number so password would be 7MelGee7Roc
- Sep – Dec: Again, go up by next number so your password would be 8MelGee8Roc
- Next year Jan to April you come back to original password 6MelGee6Roc
For everyday, use this password is complex enough. But couple of more such rules can make the password extremely complex yet easy to remember part two. Well,these suggestionshave invited some criticism over the period but this article is all about practicality and ease of implementation.
I am always told to use a new password for every account which requires password, but let’s be real it’s not possible for everyone at least not for me. My suggestion is, if you have 25 accounts which requires password, segregate them in 4 to 8 categories.
Financial: Includes your Bank account, credit cards, PayPal, Tax accounts
Communication and Privacy: Email account, healthcare., Apple ID Facebook, Twitter.
Technology: Devices like computers, iPad, phones, Wi-Fi. (you should use different password for guest Wi-Fi)
Every day: Accounts like shopping deals, newsletter, blogsand every other account where they don’t ask your credit card details.
General: For all useless accounts, where they make you signup force fully.
Type 2 users: For user with over 25 accounts the above strategy can work but it might require some effort to keep up with so many accounts.
In situation where you have more than 25 accounts there is a possibility these accounts are for professional reasons not only personal and because of same you may have to share access from time to time with others like clients, colleagues, contractor, friends etc.
In such situation, I strongly recommend using a premium password manager, how to choose a good password manager.
1: Above all,your passwords should be kept encrypted all the time.
2: It should give you mobile access to your password. So, you don’t have to open their website each time you try to login from a public computer.
3: They should have browser plugin for chrome and fire fox etc. using these plugin on private computer makes it easy to use.
4: They should allow password sharing with time restrictions. For friend, client, colleague purposes.
5: There should be an option to restore a deleted password from password manager.
6 For advanced user “single sign on” is good feature to have.
7: Password manager should be from reliable brand and cloud based for anytime anywhere use.
8: Inbuilt password generator is good to have feature but not must.
Because these features are not available in any free password manager I strongly recommend using a premium product, my personal favourite “Last Pass” to find it, google the word you won’t miss it.
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