Thirty years ago all you needed to complete nearly any transaction was a wallet or purse full of cash or at the most, the ability to sign a bit of paper. Sadly those simple days are long gone. Today, nearly any transaction requires a range of passwords, security numbers and a MENSA style memory to go with them. The transformation that the internet has made in our lives is undoubted, but on the password front, it’s not always rosy. Creating simple to remember, but utterly obscure passwords, is a bit of skill, but it doesn’t need to be rocket science. So where to start?
Turning bad passwords into good With Strong Online Security and Password Protection
- Somebody’s name: this can be a partner or spouse or parent. A hacker should be able to quickly and easily work out the names of relatives and friends. As most of us like our passwords “over easy” this is one of the easiest ways to a free lunch or two that a hacker can find. The problem with easy passwords is simply that they are just that. The simple rule here is to avoid names!
- Memorable Dates; memorable dates are like names they’re memorable, which is why we like using them for our password combinations. As with names, relevant dates in your life shouldn’t offer too much trouble for even a relatively slow hacker. Once again open up a world of opportunities for the hacker. If you’re going to use a memorable date learn one from history. The date of the battle of Agincourt or Indian independence should do. In the event that you forget it, it won’t be that hard to find out.
- You can use the name of your house or street, which is rather like leaving the door unlocked when the annual Burglar’s Convention is in town. If you’re going to do this, think of a childhood home that you’ve long since left and have no connection with at all. At least this may offer an obscure, and rather anti-hacking, name to use.
Ideally just use a random combination of numbers and letters. Eight characters minimum is normally recommended; but how do you remember a random combination? You write it down of course. This goes against nearly all traditional wisdom, but then some traditional wisdom is rather dubious if you think about it. Writing a password down at work is probably not to be advised, but at home, writing down important passwords and storing them in a secret location is not as bad as it might seem. Ideally keep the password list as far away from the computer as possible, and not actually stuck to the PC. Burglars may be interested in the PC itself, but they won’t be looking for scraps of seemingly valueless paper!
How Secure is a bit of paper?
With an increasing range of devices and sites that require passwords many of us face the dilemma between online security and virus infection, not to mention increasing forgetfulness. The simplest and oldest method of writing down passwords may not suit everybody or be to your taste, but it is actually a surprisingly secure option. You are far more likely to have a password stolen if it’s stored online somewhere, than if it’s hidden away discretely in your home. Creating strong passwords, using good antivirus software will both make your online life far more secure; writing your password down may seem like a bad idea, but a hacker will find it much harder to get at!
With online fraud on the increase every year keeping your passwords safe and preferably stored offline, combined with a good quality antivirus software, such as a McAfee download, internet security is more important than ever.