They are the bane of my life some days. My kids laughed on the weekend when they wanted the password to our shared Kindle account and I couldn’t simply rhyme it off. I had to explain to them that I have hundreds of them.
I hadn’t actually quantified the number until I logged in (yup using an ID and password), opened up the file where I store them all and scrolled through. It was depressing.
We hear about huge security breaches regularly in the news. We worry about our own accounts.
Some of us recognize how important it is to create a variety of strong passwords for multiple sites. A recent survey showed that 38% of American adults have 5 or more unique sets of credentials, 8% of us have 21 or more. Managing, saving and changing them regularly can become quite a time sink. Remembering them is a whole other problem.
Creating and recalling complicated passwords is becoming a chore for many of us. CNN reported that 37% of people have to ask for help at least once a month recalling their user name or ID online. Most people still don’t create strong passwords, or change them regularly, or keep track of them. Here are some simple tips for managing your ever growing list of site credentials.
Create an email account dedicated to signing up for new services. You can easily track your credentials, and also confirm that the site is bona fide before you then change your email to your personal one.
Create strong passwords. They should be at least 8 characters long with numbers, letters, upper and lowercase and symbols if allowed. A string of words together can be really strong. 1H8P4ssw0rds! (I hate passwords) for example is strong. Don’t include your name or email in the password. Don’t refer to your kids, pets or birthday. There are a number of websites online that can help you create secure passwords.
Don’t use the same password for every account. Make the passwords unique.
Think about storing your passwords in a central file online. There are a number of free and paid services that allow you to store your credentials online safely. The advantage of this is that you can access your password ‘bank’ from anywhere not just your own personal device.
Change your passwords every 90 days. You read that right. It seems like a huge job, but it really isn’t more than a few minutes of work for most of us. It’s one of the best ways to keep your accounts from being hacked.
Don’t share your passwords. 42% of IT professionals say they share passwords to access systems and applications. Sometimes that is alright. Most of the time it isn’t.