Create Unique Passwords You Can Remember
Do you have multiple sites and use the same password?
Creating a unique password is vital to your financial and information security.
Having a unique password isn't as hard as you might think. Let me show you how you can become more secure in a matter of minutes and why you might not be as secure as you think right now.
If you are like me you have many sites requiring a password. Each service asks you for a unique password and you type it twice and click enter. Then comes the daunting task of remembering the password. Then you answer a couple of security questions and you're finished.
I'll show you how to create one good password and make it different for each site requiring a password. I will also show you how to answer security questions to make them more difficult for unauthorized users to answer. Finally, I will help you with changing your passwords.
How do you remember your password?
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Exploring each of these options, I will show you the risks involved and how to prevent security risks to your private information.
Writing down your password
If you write down your password, you are assuming you will remember where you placed it. (I washed mine once.) It takes up valuable time to find the password. You risk someone else finding the password and using it to destroy your online personality, get into your bank account, accessing private information and much more. It's simply not safe and wastes your time.
Allowing your computer to save your password:
You may think you are safe if you allow your own computer to save your passwords for you. It's a simple solution and seems safe, especially if you are the only one who uses your computer.
Here are a few reasons you do not want your computer to remember your passwords:
- If a hacker gains access to your computer they can also gain access to your passwords. Don't believe me? In Firefox go to the Firefox drop-down and click options on the right side of the drop-down menu. Click options again. Click the security tab. Click saved passwords. Click show passwords. Confirm to show passwords and there you have every password you have saved on your computer. (It's not just Firefox either)
- If your computer crashes, how will you get your passwords back?
- What do you do when you need your password and you're not near your computer?
- Anyone who uses your computer can gain access to your passwords. It only takes a few seconds.
Hoping you remember several passwords:
It's your memory; you know it better than I. Do you trust it? Really, really trust it?
Maybe you're using the next method which would explain how you remember it so well.
Using the same password for everything: (ouch)
If you use the same password for your bank account, credit cards, social media sites, blog, game play, etc., you're playing with fire. Once a password has been discovered, everything is at risk. Even your credit! In today's world, credit is everything. Identity theft is growing daily and it's our job to protect ourselves.
How do I create a password I can remember?
First: Choose a short word and capitalize the first letter.
Second: Choose another short word. You don't have to capitalize anything on this word unless you just want to.
example: Jeff boat, Play golf, Like music, etc.
(Note: Don't make the words too long because some sites have limits on password sizes)
Third: Choose a number
Finally: Choose a symbol. Some passwords won't let you use symbols but you can delete them when you can't have them.
(I know, they say not to use things people can guess. Don't worry, I'll explain.
Using your choices to create a good password.
For example purposes I've chosen Boat, frog, 31 and #, you should choose your own.
Alternate the letters for each word and put the number and symbol in the center or at the end. B for boat, f for frog, o for boat, r for frog, etc. It should look like this when you're finished.
Example 1:) Bforaotg31# Example 2:) Bforaot31#g
Notice in the second example how the word boat ends then immediately uses the number and symbol? It makes it easier to remember where the number goes if you choose not to put it at the end. If you can't use the symbol it's easy to remember where to delete it. Bforaotg31 or Bforaot31g
Choose a certain section of the alphabet and capitalize one letter. For instance: Cdefghij
Hint: Choosing the first letter of your name or favorite sport is a good way to remember where you started then simply add the next 7 letters of the alphabet. Colts=Cdefghij
Choose a number. I have used 8 letters for the password example Cdefghij so I will use the number 8 for my example.
Choose a symbol and we're ready to go.
Putting them together:
You can use the letters in alphabetical order or use them backwards. Put in your number and symbol. And you're set.
Cdef#8ghij or backwards Jihg8fedc# (remember the capital letter)
Using Your New Password:
The password you create using these methods is the base of your passwords. When you go to a website to create a password incorporate the website name into your base password. Using the first 2 letters of each website you have a password for is an easy way to remember each different password.
Example: This is Hubpages.com my example passwords could be Cdef#8ghijHu or HuJihg8fedc#, HuBforaotg31# or Bforaot31#gHu
Using 2 letters from the beginning of each website you have a password for makes it easy to remember every password you need without using the same one for everything.
A password is only as secure as the backdoor to retrieve it.
Finally, when answering security questions to recover your password or to reset you can add security by answering opposite of the truth. For example: What is your maternal grandmother's last name? Use your paternal grandmother's last name. What is your favorite football team? If you love the Giants and dislike the Patriots, put Patriots. By answering opposite, you avoid someone asking you a common question, getting an answer and resetting your password. (poor jealous ex)
If you insist on writing down your password at this point, you can omit the numbers, characters or the individual site letters, although I recommend never writing down any password.
Time to change my password - Now what?
It's easy! You should change your password regularly whether they ask you to or not. Most people say every two months to be safe.
Change the location of the symbol and numbers. Or simply add 1 to your number (in the example it's now 32). You can add or subtract from the number as needed to change your passwords. If you're not comfortable changing the number you can change the symbol or add an extra symbol. # to ! or ##
When it's time to change one password, it's probably time to change them all. Take a little time out of your day and change them all to avoid confusion.
Take a few minutes after you create your new base password to type it in notepad a few times. Before you know it, you'll have it in your memory. (Don't forget to delete it from notepad when you're finished.)
You've done it!
Your password should now be more than 8 characters and includes at least one capital letter, 1 or 2 numbers and a symbol. You choose where to place them, so the chances of anyone guessing them is very low. If you change the characters and numbers around every couple of months, you'll be even more secure. While nothing is 100% secure from a hacker, you've made a step in the right direction.