Most computer users who spend a lot of time online know the importance of having a unique, secure password for each account. The best and strongest passwords are those that don’t use dictionary words, ones that combine lowercase and uppercase characters with numerals and symbols. It’s also advisable not to use the same password for any two accounts – each one has to be distinct and exclusive. As an added precaution, all passwords have to be replaced after every few months.
All of these are effective measures, and they are highly recommended. These can help protect your online accounts from cybercriminals, even prevent your phone from being hacked. But there’s a slight problem with too many passwords – How to remember them all?
Common – But Risky – Ways to Remember Passwords
The solution most computer users employ is allowing the web browser to save the passwords. A prompt appears, asking permission to remember the password you entered. All you need to do is click your approval, and it’s stored for you the next time you need to log in. This habit however, carries a security risk. At the moment that your computer is used by another person – or is perhaps stolen – they can easily access all your accounts and personal data.
[Read also: 10 Ways to Protect Personal Information Online]
Another thing that people are inclined to do is write down all their passwords and PIN numbers on a piece of paper, then keep it in a place where they think no one would look. This would seem like a sensible method, but security specialists advise against this. Writing a password anywhere diminishes security, and this should never be done. Listed below are a few suggestions on how you can safely managing multiple passwords.
Write down clues, not passwords
Instead of writing your actual passwords, make notes of clues that will help you remember them. Use terms that will be meaningful only to you and can’t be deciphered by anyone else. It would even be wise to use coded symbols.
Make your notes concise; include only what is necessary. Don’t write the accounts associated with the passwords.
Be sure to keep this note in a safe place. If you must dispose of it, shred it.
Save your password notes in an external storage device
Instead of writing everything on a piece of paper, consider using an external storage device. Create a file containing your clues and save it in a password-protected external hard drive. You will then simply have to remember this one master password to access your file.
Create strong but easy to remember passwords in the future
When it’s time to replace your passwords, create new ones that you can easily remember without compromising their strength. One way to do this is to think of a quotation or a line from a song that you know very well, then use the first letter of each word for your password. Fortify it by switching between uppercase and lowercase characters, as well as substituting numbers for some of the letters. Add symbols and punctuation marks to make it more cryptic and increase its length.
[Read also: Avoid Creating Vulnerable Passwords]
Use a password management service
Security professionals recommend using an application called a password manager. It stores all your passwords and user names, and retrieves them for you when needed. You will simply have to take note of a single password to log into your account. Be sure to do some research and choose a reputable provider that consistently delivers excellent service. For this, I recommend KeePass – a free, open source, light-weight and easy-to-use password manager, which helps you to manage your multiple passwords securely.
These days when much of our interactions and transactions occur online, secure passwords are crucial. With multiple accounts and multiple passwords that need to be replaced regularly, be sure to implement effective methods to remember them all.
Are you overloaded with passwords? What are some of your tips and tricks for keeping track of passwords? Or are you the genius cyborg who can remember ZHskL82%~eNd$v ? 😛 Let us know in the comments.