Don’t Use Stupid Passwords

In this day and age, it’s dumb not to be smart about your passwords. Being that I work online all day every day, I’ve always tried to be smart about my passwords. I’ll admit, I did use the same handful of passwords interchangeably with various services for years, but I’ve since made smarter (and stronger) choices. I actually used the same two passwords that my ISP gave me some 20 years ago with nearly all of the services I subscribe to at some point. It wasn’t until around 7 or 8 years ago, when my Gmail account was hacked by someone from Egypt, that I started using more than two passwords. And it was until just 2 years ago that I went one step further and started using a password manager so that I could actually have different passwords that I didn’t even need to remember.For many of us, everything we spew on a day-to-day basis is online. So just as you lock the door to your house, or keep your ATM PIN safe and sound, wouldn’t you want to do the same for all of your online goodies? Keep in mind that there are people who has nothing better to do than try to hack online accounts all day long. They use any combination of software to work for them, some much more relentless than others. So if you’re using passwords like “password”, “

For many of us, everything we spew on a day-to-day basis is online. So just as you lock the door to your house, or keep your ATM PIN safe and sound, wouldn’t you want to do the same for all of your online goodies? Keep in mind that there are people who has nothing better to do than try to hack online accounts all day long. They use any combination of software to work for them, some much more relentless than others. So if you’re using passwords like “password”, “onetwothree” or “dadadada”, chances are your accounts won’t be safe for long. Huge companies like LinkedIn, Twitter and MySpace (okay maybe that one’s not so big) have all suffered password breaches recently.

Password Managers

I always loved knowing my passwords so I could just type them on the fly, never having to think twice or look anything up. Using a password manager (like LastPass or 1Password) was hard at first, but you really only need to remember your master password — which you can make amazing — and there are all kinds of apps that help you fill in or look up your passwords when you need to. This way you don’t have to use a password that’s easy to remember. Instead you can use one that’s super long, super strong and contains all kinds of weird numbers, capital letters and special characters, making it that much harder to hack.

Two-factor

Want to take it one step further? Many sites allow for two-factor authentication. This means that in addition to your password, you’ll have to enter a special six-digit code (provided every time you login via a special code generator app or SMS) to gain access to your account. That means that even if someone does obtain your password, they’ll still need that code, which refreshes every sixty seconds, to get into your account. Its like using a regular doorknob and a deadbolt, both with different keys.

Locked and loaded!

The moral of my story here is that you can’t be too safe with your accounts online. Sure, most companies make it easy to recover your account if you get hacked, but you shouldn’t be in the position in the first place. You can easily take a few extra steps to make sure you’re goods are secure, and save yourself a lot of headaches in the future. But if you still want to write your passwords on a post-it that you keep under your desk, that’s up to you.

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