In Part 2 of this series of articles I described a practical approach for coming up with high strength passwords. In this segment I will talk about how to deal with the problem of having so many accounts and passwords in your life that no person can possibly remember a strong unique password for every single one.
The single best thing that you can do to secure your digital life is to start using an account management tool that can store your information securely and generate unique randomized passwords for each of your accounts.
There are quite a few options available such as Apple Keychain, LastPass and KeePass. I highly recommend KeePass as it is an open source, free solution that allows you to keep complete control of where your information is stored.
KeePass for Windows can be downloaded here: https://keepass.info/download.html
Thanks to being open source, KeePass has been adapted to work on Android, iPhone, MacOS and Linux as well.
The steps to securing your digital life are as follows:
1. Download and install KeePass for your platform.
2. Create a KeePass data file and create a strong unique passphrase to secure this data file.
3. Create an entry in the KeePass file for each of your accounts.
4. Use the random password generator tool in KeePass to make a unique, high strength password for each account.
5. When you want to login to an account, copy the account information from your KeePass file and paste into the username and password fields on the site you want to access.
An example of password creation within KeePass.
Using an account management tool like KeePass means that you only need to remember 1 strong unique password to access your file. Every account that you create can have a strong unique password that you don’t even have to remember in order to use. Obviously, there may be a few key accounts that you want to remember and you can still store those in KeePass for handy use.
If you are not currently using a password manager this system may take some time to get used to. However, it is essential for your personal security that you adapt to a system that allows you to keep strong unique passwords for ALL of your accounts. Remember to make regular backups of your KeePass database file. Copy it onto a USB flash drive that you keep in a secure location.
I use KeePass to store all sorts of information, such as copies of my passport and driver licenses. I also set reminders for when those accounts will expire so that I can remember to renew them.
To summarize the recommendations from the 3 articles in this series please remember these key points:
1. Use strong, unique, random passwords for each individual account. Reusing a password across multiple accounts opens you up to being hacked much more easily.
2. Use a password manager tool to store and generate your random passwords.
3. Avoid using personal information such as names and birthdates to generate passwords.
4. Avoid sharing your passwords with any other individual. If you must share a password for some special purpose, change it immediately after that purpose has passed.
Our children are growing up in societies that rely on secure access to many accounts. Be sure to talk with your children about keeping their account information confidential. Teach them how to use a password management tool so that they can develop good habits in account security.
Stay safe out there my friends!
Did you miss Part 1 and 2 of this series? Check them out here