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If you hate them too — there’s a cure for your headache.  Passwords Don’t Need To Be Hard!

The tech world has been preaching more complex passwords that are frequently changed for years.  It’s good advice.  But there comes a tipping point for all of us with all the passwords we must keep.  All the different and complex passwords.  It’s not uncommon to have a hundred or more.

Keeping a spreadsheet or document with all your passwords has some problems.  A yellow pad works OK — but as the list grows or you work away from home — it’s not very practical.  Everyone should be using a password manager.  It allows you to keep track of the many and complex passwords we have to deal with.  For a good, locally stored solution, I recommend KeePass.  It’s a free download at Keepass.info.  A second alternative which is stored in the cloud is LastPass.com — they have multiple plans available.  I recommend one of the paid plans depending on your needs.

Now that you have a way to keep track of all those passwords — how can you easily make them more complicated?  The problem is compounded by the different requirements for each site you use.  The standard best practice says:

  1. Don’t use a word in the dictionary that can be easily guessed.
  2. Have upper case letters, lower case letters, numbers and special characters.
  3. The longer the better.  At least 8 to 10 characters.

Now you have something reasonably secure — but it’s impossible to remember.  Especially if you don’t use it often.  Or, if you don’t have ready access to a password manager tool.  One of the best options to solve all of these issues is to use a passphrase.  The longer the better.  It can be something easy to remember, and the longer it is, the more secure. For example:

  1. IloveToWorkAtXYZCompany
  2. IHateWorkButINeedTheMoney
  3. ILoveJimAndSallyAndMom

You get the idea.  Without getting technical — the longer it is the more secure.  Every character adds much, much more security.  And they can be easy to remember.  If your bank or some other site requires a number or special character – just add that to the end.  Then put it into your password manager and you are golden.  With your password manager, you can and should use a different password for EVERY logon you have.

Make sure when using a password manager that you use a good master password.  The pass phrase is perfect for that.  Keep in a safe place and make sure to leave a copy of it for someone you trust if you aren’t around.

Do yourself a favor Today!!  Change just one of your passwords.  Then tomorrow change another.  One step at a time — it’s easy to be more secure online.

Have a Great Day,

Rusty Lee