I dont know about you, but the whole business of remembering passwords is becoming a bit of a pain - especially with all the online accounts and services that I use these days. Well it was a pain that is, until I discovered a couple of ideas that helped.
But first - I was prompted to write this blog post because of an article I just read that explained that so-called 'strong' passwords can now be hacked in matter of seconds using appropriate math algorithms and very fast computer processor chips. So, the example stated shows that a password "like 'fjR8n' can be broken on the CPU in 24 seconds". Yikes!
The conclusion is that its the length of a password that stops it being hacked. Anything less than 14 characters long is considered risky!
Certainly worrying! You can read the whole article here.
So, what to do!?
Well here's the approach I use
Use PASS PHRASES.
Here's an example of a pass phrase: "I love to have cake and tea with my aunt Dotty every Sunday at 11!"
The idea here is that you make a pass phrase thats very easy for you to remember and then take the letters and create your password from them. So the above pass phrase might lead to this 17 character password:
Easy! And because this is 17 characters its basically going to be impossible for anyone to break it.
I like to use rules that help mix things up - like adding in numbers (11) and also capitalizing proper nouns (I, Dotty, Sunday).
And of course, its OK to have several different pass phrases - e.g. for your various online general services and then you might have others for more sensitive accounts.
So, password problem is now solved.
Lastpass Password manager
But Lastpass came to my rescue!
This is a great web service that is currently free and has received many rave reviews. Lastpass works well because it's a free plug-in for most browsers that automatically remembers all your passwords and do do really clever things like auto-log you in etc. to your commonly used services like EMAIL.
With a master password (mine is many characters long!), you turn on the Lastpass service each time start up my PC, or launch my browser, and then it starts remembering and recording for you. When I go to my email account, my credentials and password are automatically filled in and I can even auto-login too. It is saving me a lot of time and frustration!
All your password data is kept on their secure servers and is encrypted at every step.
You can even change the way it works on a mobile device like a laptop, to use a special encryption key that you need to print out and refer to. In other words if my laptop is stolen, then its still impossible to access my Lastpass account without my unique key.
I feel secure using Lastpass because it has great security features that I have been able to customize to meet my needs.
In conclusion, I would strongly recommend that you update all your passwords and start using PASS PHRASES. You will be amazed at how easy it is to do this.
If your work environment allows it then you might like to try Laspass too!