These days we do more and more online. From our shopping, to our banking, to our communication to our recreational reading, there are few things that we can’t do via the web and few things that aren’t all the more convenient for it.
While it might be very useful to access all that information and to speak with friends and colleagues without ever leaving our room though, it’s also potentially risky in terms of security. Just as we can access a wealth of information by going online, so too are we potentially exposing our own personal information to millions when we do. As such then it’s critical that we be careful with our use of the web, and specifically with our use of passwords that are designed to protect this data. Here we will look at how to keep those critical passwords safe and protect your internet identity as a result.
Have Different Passwords
This is the first and most important rule to make sure that your passwords are safe. When you go online chances are that you’ll use multiple different websites for shopping and obtaining the information you need, and some of these are likely to be less reliable than others. Use the same password for all of them, and you’re potentially giving the owners of a dodgy website your PayPal details which just isn’t smart. Instead then, use a different password for each website, and if you find this hard to keep track of then consider using common elements but using a bit of the URL in your password. This could mean you use ‘ZXD FD1W’ on all sites and use the middle part of the URL from each site you visit. So on Amazon it might be ZXD AZO FD1W’.
Choose Random Passwords
Notice how this example is completely random other than the changeable element. This is a good idea, as is using random numbers in your password too. And in fact using a rare user name like ‘Mr-Fast-Frog-7′ will help keep your identify safe too. Why is this? Because many of the password breaking scripts that people use work by simply entering lots of common combinations of passwords and usernames. If both your username and your password is completely random and very long, then you’re unlikely to be caught out by this.
Don’t Write it Down
It’s also very important not to write down your password and certainly not to throw it out. Likewise don’t throw away any other information that can be used to identify you without using document shredding first. Many thieves operate by going through the trash and finding personal details which they can use to bypass security on websites. Even if you keep your password safe, someone finding your date of birth and your address could be enough for them to pass the ‘security questions’ they need in order to hack into your account and even change your password. If you must write down a password, do it in a coded way that only you will understand.
This post was written by Carter Young, a technophile working with Blue-pencil Information Security.