How many times a day do you type a password? Whether it’s an ATM transaction, your e-mail, your Facebook account, or your laptop, the answer is probably dozens of times a day, hundreds of times a week. In our line of work, we might actually have thousands of logins in a one week time span.
How do you remember your passwords? It’s a pretty bad idea to use the same password for everything. If your password should be compromised, you would want to limit the exposure to one service. Most of us have more than one key in our pocket for the same reason. You might not want to leave your house key, office key, and the key to your safe with the valet. Still, if you have more than 3 or 4 passwords, you might be tempted to write them down. Another bad idea. Even worse, some people tape their passwords to their monitors or keep them on their desk, which means anyone with physical access to that computer can get to their bank account.
passpack.com [link] offers a secure, accessible way to keep all your passwords straight. This is a good start. While storing passwords on the web may seem counterintuitive, keep in mind that the passwords are encrypted with the same technology used for credit card transactions, which is very secure when used correctly.
Here’s one great way to manage lots of passwords.
1. Pick a short phrase that is only meaningful to you and isn’t made of dictionary words. Make sure it has letters and numbers in it, and ideally one capital letter. For example, let’s say your college dormitory was called Emerson Hall, and your room number was 116. For this example, let’s say emerson116 is a password you would like to use.
2. Change out a couple letters for numbers or symbols. For example, em3rs0n116
3. Add some non-alphanumeric characters, for example **em3rs0n116**
4. Add the name of the service to the password, and capitalize it, such as **em3rs0nGOOGLE116** or **em3rs0nGOOG116**
You now have a reasonably strong password that is unique to each service you use, and is easy to remember.