Don’t Write Down Your Passwords!
We were joking around on Facebook. Someone had found a book, described as the Internet Password Book, that you could buy that allowed you to write down all your passwords, including the login URL, user name and password for all accounts including social media sites, banking institutions, email and subscription or services sites.
Very. Bad. Idea.
What happens if you lose it? What happens if someone swipes it?
Would you write down the combination to a safe and pin it to your bulletin board?
I did an online search and confirmed that a number of manufacturers selling these things and some of them are even titled!
- Secure Password Manager
- Internet Password Keeper
- Best Password Manager
- Password Organizer Book
- Internet Password Log Book
- The Personal Internet Address and Password Organizer
If you have a book of secrets, wouldn’t you want it to be as plain as possible? Maybe you’d even want to disguise it like a kids fairy tale book or a textbook on quantum mechanics.
You wouldn’t want to attract attention to it!
Better yet, wouldn’t you want a digital password manager that would be harder to access on a secure computer than a book on your desk, in a drawer or in a backpack?
It’s good to use different passwords for different accounts. Managing all that can add up!
How many passwords do people use?
- One survey estimated that we have 19 passwords on average.
- Another report says that we use as many as 10 passwords every day.
- Another study found that the average person signs into 25 websites per day, using just 6 different passwords.
- One in three people use the same password at every single site.
I feel password fatigue creeping in.
Manually entering 10 secure passwords a day, not to mention 25, requires a lot of concentration, especially if you accept the best practice recommendations of using long passwords that include a mix of random letters, numbers and symbols.
How Long Should My Passwords Be?
Security specialists say hackers need 3 minutes to crack the average password. Want to be amazed? Enter your password into HowSecureIsMyPassword.net and see how long it would take a hacker to compromise your site.
I used to use a password that included my pet’s name and a 4-digit address. 9 total digits. (Most sites recommend at least 8 digits) HowSecureIsMyPassword estimated that a hacker on a desktop PC could figure it out in about 7 hours.
By adding an extra alpha-numeric digit increased the time it would take to hack the site to 10 DAYS!
Adding BOTH a letter and number (11 digits total) increased the time to hack to 37 YEARS!
But most analysts tell us not to use names, words or easily guessed numbers (like your address). Use RANDOM letters, numbers and symbols.
Not easy to remember.
And you’re still typing-in long passwords at least several times a day.
From a book, whose title is screaming, “CLEAN ME OUT NOW! TAKE IT ALL!”
Why Password Security is So Important
Deb Reiter, a respected IT consultant in Chicago’s suburbs wrote an article on password security and asking how long it’s been since we’ve upgraded ours. She revealed a study that showed that 3 out of 4 people surveyed had not changed their passwords in a year or more. 1 in 5 had not changed passwords in a decade or more! 73% use the same password on multiple accounts.
All make you very vulnerable.
Here are the her 5 reasons why password security is so important…
1) Hackers are becoming increasingly adept at figuring out passwords. Deb recommends using a password manager to create a different password for each site that you use.
2) Two-factor authentication is ubiquitous now. A new website, TurnOn2FA.com, includes step-by-step instructions for enabling this free feature.
3) Dormant online accounts can be particularly easy targets. Don’t forget these accounts! If you use accounts only once a month, check those first.
4) Anti-virus software and security patches can provide an extra layer of defense. Comprehensive security protects against viruses, malware and spyware, which are all costly and time consuming to battle.
5) Enterprise-grade password management solutions are gaining traction. In this day and age, you really can’t be over-protected. You need to protect your website, browsers, programs and java.
Best Password Manager
In my opinion, the best password manager would use long, impossible to remember passwords; something like “pATru3ah&p6thapr.” 16 digits long.
- It would allow me to access sites across all platforms; my Macbook, my desktop PC and my smartphone.
- It would allow me to easily find my sites to access by searching for “bank,” “email” or “Twitter.”
- It would allow me to share certain logins with family, partners or employees and delete their access at any time, if needed.
- It would allow me to access 10, 25 or 100 sites a day with a couple quick clicks of the mouse.
- It would allow me to access my password manager with one secure, but easy to remember password, such as my dogs name, my childhood address and a symbol or 2. I might add something else to it, but HowSecureIsMyPassword estimates that “Rover!4424” would take a desktop PC 58 years to crack!
Now we’re talking!
LastPass is my favorite password manager because it delivers speed, security and ease of use across all my devices reliably.
As recommended, I can create secure passwords that look like gibberish and are hard to guess, and organize them in a secure application that is available on all my devices. And all I need to remember is ONE password.
I can grant password access to members of my family, employees or business partners.
It will also audit all of the passwords in your vault, with known breaches prioritized and alert you to passwords that should be more secure or haven’t been changed in a while, so you can keep improving your password hygiene.
LastPass is compatible on Windows, Mac, most Linux distributions, Android, iOS, Windows Phone, and Blackberry. For browser support, they have plugins for Chrome, Firefox, Safari, Opera, and Internet Explorer.
Click here to get started for free today!
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