Safe Passwords – and why you need to use them!

Technology promises to make our lives easier and services more accessible (and generally, it does). However, every new website and service we sign up for is another password we need to remember. For most of us, it’s become impossible to remember all of them.

Nearly all services, such as banking, insurance, and shopping (to name just a few), are now conducting business online; every website you access information from needs a personal login and password. So, how are you managing your passwords? If I was to take a guess, most of you have a little book in the top drawer of your computer desk that lists all your passwords for each service or website. Not the easiest system to follow, is it? Particularly if you’re needing passwords when you’re out and about.

That’s why we put together this article to help you manage your online accounts and information safely – with secure and easy-to-manage passwords.

Passwords are essential when it comes to staying safe online. Like the keys to your house, passwords help keep you and your valuable information secure, and you shouldn’t share them with anyone.

If you have a strong password and use different password combinations for various websites, it is harder for someone to steal it and access your personal information online.A Google Online Security Survey found 52% of respondents reused the same password for multiple (but not all) accounts. This is a big no-no.

There are several ways this can happen. One common way is through computer programs (called bots) that will try to guess your password by attempting to enter multiple passwords very quickly. These bots can try every word in the dictionary, common passwords and even use personal information like birth dates to try and guess a password. For this reason, using a combination of numbers and letters in a jumbled manner is the preferred method of creating a safe password.

But how do you remember so many jumbled passwords across every website you need to log into? A password manager.

What is a password manager?

A password manager is a software application on your phone, tablet or computer that stores your passwords so you don’t need to remember them. Usually, these passwords are stored in an encrypted database and locked behind a master password. Once you’ve logged into the password manager using your master password, it will generate and remember your passwords for all your online accounts.

So, instead of memorising all the login information you use for each site, you only have to remember one master password when using a password manager.

There are three types of password managers you can use:

  • Locally installed or offline password managers
  • Web-based or online password manager services
  • Stateless or token-based password managers

To keep things simple and easy to understand without overwhelming you with technical information, we will explain only the most popular type of Password manager: Web-based online password manager.

Web-based online password managers store your passwords in the cloud, usually on the provider’s server. (you can read our article “What is The Cloud” here.) This setup means you can access your passwords from everywhere, anytime, without installing any software. You will access your password vault via the internet through encrypted data. All you need is access to the internet, which you usually have via the data on your phone or tablet or wifi on your computer.

You will need to pay for most reputable web-based password managers. While great free versions are available, some features will not be on the free version. That said, most paid online password managers will not break the bank, and well worth the price for the peace of mind, knowing all your passwords are safe with just one straightforward login to remember.

Choice recommends the following web-based password managers: 

If you can’t get your head around using a password manager, and the technology is overwhelmingly confusing, below are some tips on generating safe password options.

Alternatively, Call Grandaids – our friendly Mentors can help you set up a safe and easy-to-use password manager specifically for your needs. Call 1800 472 632

Avoid obvious passwords

To keep your password strong, avoid obvious or simple passwords, for example, passwords that include your name. These types of passwords are so common and obvious that they’re always the first ones to be tried by anyone looking to steal passwords.

Another common mistake is using the word p a s s w o r d as a password. A surprising number of people make this mistake, and it’s one of the simplest passwords to guess.

Another tip is not to use common sequences, such as A B C D or 1 2 3 4. Whilst they may be easy to remember, they are also effortless to guess.

Don’t use personal information.

 Avoid using passwords that include easy-to-remember personal information. If someone who wants to steal your password knows anything about you, they can easily try combinations of your information to attempt to guess it. For example:

  • You shouldn’t use your date of birth or name in your password.
  • Don’t use the names of family members or pets as a password.
  • Don’t use the name of the street where you live as a password.

The best kind of password is one that looks like it’s just a jumble of numbers, letters and symbols. It uses both capital and lowercase letters. These types of passwords can’t be guessed by using personal information, dictionary words or common phrases. Some examples of these kinds of passwords include: Y @ a g & y W 6 0
Of course, this type of password can be tough to remember. Here are some tips for creating a password that you might not forget.

Using substitutions
To make a password easy to remember, you can take a common word and substitute some letters with numbers, symbols or capital letters.
For example, let’s choose F r I d a y to start our password and then mix it up a bit. First, change the r to a 7 (it’s a bit like a backwards r).
Then make the i an exclamation mark (which looks like an upside-down i), and make the d a capital D. A password like F7!Day will be harder to guess than Friday.

Using a lyric or phrase
A popular way of creating memorable passwords is to use the first letters of a song lyric, or passage from a book, poem or a well-known phrase. It should be easy for you to remember but difficult for someone else to guess.
For example, the song titled “You can’t always get what you want” from the 1960s could form a password like: Y c a g w y w
To strengthen the password, you can capitalise the first and last letters and add numbers for the decade it was written. Then you end up with a robust password: YcagwyW60
Creating a good password is easy by simply taking something you know and changing it slightly. That way, you have more chance of remembering it and less chance of someone guessing it.

For more help on creating safe passwords or if you would like a Grandaids Mentor to help set up a Password Manager for you – Contact Grandaids

1800 472 632 or contact us here


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