Passwords, passwords, passwords
How many, what type, what numbers?????
You need passwords for almost anything you do today: Laptops, PCs, Ipads, Ipods, Cell phones, Smart phones, Social sites, Work pages (and sites), Files, Gaming sites, Information sites, Banking sites, Work sites, E-mail, E-books, Shopping sites, Music sites, Selling sites, sorry, got a bit carried away.
How many different passwords are you supposed to be able to come up with before you start using the same ones over again? And each password using numbers, letters (caps or not), symbols, names, positions in a password, even questions--how do you remember all that? How do you make passwords that others wouldn't be able to guess? Remember, you can't use familiar things that are close to you or your location because those will be the first things someone will use if they want to get into your files.
Then come the security questions. Do you answer them correctly so you can remember them, or do you make up something? If you make up something, is it something you will remember; or is it something you have used before? AAAhhhhhhhhhhh (screamed loudly). And how do you keep track of all of it? In a book, a password site, on a paper in your wallet, or taped somewhere? How can we do this? I think the better question is: can we do this? And the answer is 'YES'!
Imagine that each fish is a password and you will get the idea.
First things first:
Maintain a program on your computer that will track, seek, and destroy any viruses or ‘bugs’ you might get on your computer. This includes keeping your firewall active. There are several out there. Some software will often offer free trials of their security programs so you can see how they work. That means they can be downloaded for free if you chose their ‘basic’ program. Advanced programs will cost, but sometimes the cost is worth it depending on what you have on your computer. With your files protected from bugs, for the most part, you can move on to the passwords themselves.
You do have to keep track of your passwords somehow. Here are a few examples:
Keep track of your passwords in a single flash drive that you keep on your person or locked in a lock box or security box. Be sure the flash drive won’t open without a password in case it is lost or stolen. The password can be kept in a separate secure spot (like the glove compartment of your car) but not identified. I like to just write the password on the corner of a piece of paper in my glove compartment without anything else next to it. Makes it hard to know what it’s for unless you put it there, especially if you are like me and have so many notes on the edges of your papers it would be nearly impossible for anyone to know which is for what. Some flash drives can be stored on your key chain or placed in your wallet. If you do not have either of these options, perhaps you have a drawer you can lock it in. If you don’t have a flash drive, you can write the passwords in a book that you can then lock up or keep with you at all times. Some people have a piece of paper that they write all of their passwords on and then place them in their wallet. If you must write them down, keep them in an exceptionally secure place—example: only keep the ones you use daily in your wallet and then keep the rest on a separate sheet that is safely locked away. I don’t like keeping them in my wallet for the simple fact that if I get robbed the robber will have all of my passwords, so I carefully code what each password goes to—for example: if I have a password for my e-mail written down I would say it was for my reading files, or I don’t identify what it is for at all; I just write it down.
Use a code only you know.....
1st, 2nd, 3rd, or 5th, 1st, 6th, 2nd.... Record the marks not the code when writing the password down.
Methods are hard to come up with, I know.
If you find it difficult to remember a complicated password, especially if you use a different one for each item (which is what you are supposed to do), try using a complicated code that only you know about. For instance, you could use the first letter of your name, the first letter of your favorite character, the age of your first cat, the last letter of your father’s name and your favorite symbol. With each new password, move the steps to the right----for the second password use the second letter of your name, the second letter of your favorite character, the age of your second cat, the first letter of your father’s name and your next favorite symbol. Once you have used this code a few times, it becomes easy to remember. Recording would make no sense to anyone trying to decipher your code. Who would know what “1st, 1st, 1st, last, fav” meant if you wrote that down on your password list? A hacker would try 111100fav or something like that. They would never guess what name or word you used or how your code went.
To put in a capital all you have to do is chose the location within the password and that particular item will always be a capital. For instance: Always having the third position as a capital. You can move it if you like, as long as you keep up with it. Try moving it as you do the letters in your code.
Add a uniqueness to your passwords.
Use symbols, capitals, and numbers as often as possible for added protection. For instance: if you want to protect a document you just typed up, you could use three lower case letters, a number, a symbol of some sort, an upper case letter and two lower case letters. This type of password, though hard to remember, is actually extremely difficult to hack since there are literally thousands of possibilities. If you secure the password as listed above, you would be able to look it up relatively easily.
Try creating your own method of password creating. Practice it often along with your variations and method of recording. As long as the password is unique, it will be hard to figure out. The sky is the limit, as they used to say. A quick note: if you record differently each time, it would add to a hackers confusion should they try to use your records.
CHANGE OFTEN, CHANGE OFTEN, CHANGE OFTEN, can't say it enough!
Change your passwords often (as if you haven't gotten the message yet). If you use the same password for too long, eventually someone will identify it if they want to know what it is. Changing one letter or one word doesn’t work because it makes it too easy for someone to use the process of elimination. To make it easy for yourself but hard for someone else, try using a whole different method each time you change. For example: if you used the method above and now want to change, you could spell your favorite food backwards putting your favorite color mixed in--french fries and blue would be seeirufhclnerbf. Now figure that one out hacker!
If it is too complicated for you, try beginning slow.
When I first began, I thought I would go nuts. I didn't know up from down or position from symbol. I just put a name I knew or something and moved on. I mean who can know what I used over the millions of other people around the world, right? I was wrong. If the military can be hacked, so can I, and much easier, I might add. So, I kept trying. I have a few easier passwords you can use to get started.
If you need to use a word (or words) that you know you will remember, add random numbers and/or symbols to the word. Track the symbols and keep using the word. BE CAREFUL what word you use. If someone guesses the word, and is intent on getting into your files, they can use the process of elimination to discover the symbols and numbers. However, it does become a monumental task, especially if you change the numbers and symbols regularly and randomly. For example: you could use '1easy@14”'and then keep using the word ‘easy’ but change the numbers and symbols. You could also use the symbols again but change the word. Or change the location of the symbols but still use the word. If you use this method, do not use anything in order like 1, 2, 3 and then 4. Keep them random to make them harder to figure out.
"I forgot my password and can't get into the club. I know I buried that book somewhere around here."
- Known items don't work-- like Supercalifragilisticexpeeallidocious...because they are well known, and possibly too long.
- Common items that are used a lot aren't good either--dragon, 1,2,3,4, pet name, or a birth date.
Last minute advice.
If you absolutely must write the passwords down nearby or you won’t be able to access your own files, DO NOT keep them in an obvious place, like under the mouse pad or taped to your monitor. In fact, do not keep them anywhere near the computer itself. Ideas (though I wouldn’t use these since they are in the article, but you can get an idea of what I mean): taped to the bottom of the printer or taped to the inside of a file cabinet drawer. Also, do not mark what it is, that way if anyone does find it, they won’t know what it’s for.
Don’t tell anyone what your passwords are!!!!!!! If you tell a co-worker or friend what you use for a password, even if you know they can be trusted, don't take the chance that they might inadvertently reveal it to someone who is not quite so trustworthy. If you must share it, change it immediately afterwards! Passwords are for you alone. That's why we have them!
Passwords are a pain and can get so complicated that you might feel like giving up. But if you use a bit of caution and a bit of imagination, you can keep your passwords complicated, a secret, and nearly impossible to hack. Oh, I almost forgot, do not send your passwords through e-mail because those things can be tracked even if the e-mail has been deleted. The only exception to that would be if you, again, changed it immediately.
Is there anything else I can add to this already very long hub? I suppose I could, but perhaps this is where you come in and I leave. Imagination is the key!
I hope this helps and ***Happy password creating!***
© 2011 Cheryl Simonds
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