Crocodile Dundee sure had a way with words, didn’t he?! 🙂 Remember the scene when he and Sue were walking back to the hotel in New York City? Up comes a guy flashing a switchblade, which only makes Dundee laugh as he pulls out his very impressive bush knife. The would-be mugger gets away with only his leather jacket bearing the brunt of Dundee’s large knife.
Sure, it was one of the greatest movie scenes ever (epic!), but why bring it up now?
When it comes to their passwords, a lot of folks these days have a false sense of superiority – like the guy with the switchblade. Then they see that latest worst passwords list or read about the hack of a major company, and they have a sudden feeling of inadequacy: hackers aren’t intimidated by small knives or bad passwords.
When it comes to passwords,
this is NOT a password: Snoopy1!
THIS is a password: ^oLe84&@)fjl_92nm2F>
Are you carrying around ineffective passwords thinking that they are protecting you? (I’m confident that Crocodile Dundee would have an admirable set of passwords for all of his accounts.)
Well, we have just the thing for it: a little spring cleaning for your passwords.
This is especially for you if you use the same password for several accounts or if your passwords are basically a menagerie of your children’s and pets’ names, favorite musicians or any one of the passwords on any worst passwords list.
Since this is a spring cleaning, we recommend that you review all of your passwords for your online accounts.
1) Creating strong passwords
A password manager is your best way to create random strings for truly strong passwords. If, however, you really want to create your own passwords, then go ahead, but make sure you follow some best practices:
- make it long and strong (12 or more characters)
- don’t use dictionary words, names, or significant memes from your life
- mix in upper/lower case, numbers, special characters (watch out for patterns!)
- if it helps you, try making it a passphrase (like the lyrics from a song, or this famous guide)
Now do that for each of your accounts that requires a password.
Nice! Now you’ll need to store your impressive new set of secure passwords.
2) Storing your passwords
Remembering one or two passwords is manageable. Remembering 30, or more, passwords is really hard for most of us. This involves your security, so you don’t want to mess around. A password manager will easily and securely store all the passwords you created (or it can create super strong random passwords for your accounts). With a password manager, all you need to remember is your one master password. Your database in Sticky Password is encrypted, so it’s protected if your device somehow gets in the wrong hands.
Or, you could write them all down on paper, in a notebook, or in a file on your device. While storing your passwords on a physical piece of paper may give you a feeling of control, you’re going to find that you have less practical command of your passwords.
3) Using your passwords
If you’ve gone the password manager route, you’re ready to go.
Simply login to Sticky Password with your master password and the next time you visit a login page for one of your stored accounts, Sticky Password will populate your login and password and log you in. For new accounts, your password manager offers to save your new login – even offering to generate a new random password for you.
No sweat! All secure!
If you’ve decided to use an alternate storage method, you’re probably going to have some typing to do.
Well done! Crocodile Dundee would be impressed.
While you’re at it, getting your digital environment in order, check out the recap of StaySafeOnline.org‘s Twitter chat (April 7): Digital Spring Cleaning – Clean Up Your Cyber Clutter.
Here are some of the highlights: