Password management is a very common concern to most IT users. You want to have strong passwords, that contain numbers and a combination of lower and upper cases. You also want them to be different on each account, to be safer. But how can we remember all of our passwords?
Here are a few tips and apps to help you manage your passwords safely.
How to create a password
One of the methods often used to create passwords is to put together a few words at random – these passwords are easy to remember and quite difficult to guess or attack. The catch is, you must choose the words at random, for example by using a random word generator (such as www.randomwordgenerator.com) or flipping through a book. People who choose the words themselves are much more likely to pick certain types of words, which makes the password much easier for a hacker to guess. The more random the word combination, the less likely someone is to be able to guess it. For example the combination “cellarreversedefinite”, was created with a random-word generator.
Another interesting method is to create a unique sentence that you find easy to remember, then use the first letter of each word as a password. Don’t use famous quotes, as hackers will have a database of those. You can use a fact from your life and if it includes numbers, even better. For example the sentence:
“It was no fun breaking my tooth when I was 12” becomes “IwnfbmtwIw12.”
Unfortunately, the easiest passwords to remember are also the easiest to guess.
Do not rely on these common techniques:
- Never use a famous date in your life, the name or initials of yourself or a relative, or other obvious personal details. Even a hacker who doesn’t know you may test passwords that follow these common formats.
- Avoid obvious patterns. “Orange Yellow Green Red” is much easier to guess than “Orange Capture History Dress.” Only-numerical passwords are also easy to guess, like”4567″
- Never make important passwords the same. If a hacker somehow manages to guess your email password, you want to make sure that that is the only thing they can access using that password.
How to store passwords
Most people will have a notebook where they write all of these down with a pencil.
Our recommendation is that you keep two notebooks: in one, you can make a numerical list of your accounts, for example:
- Email account
- Apple ID
Then, on a different notebook, write the number corresponding to that password and the password. For example:
Keep this second notebook somewhere safe and memorable at home.
This technique will be useful to start with, but if you continue adding passwords and changing them often, it could be a mess. You might also need to have them portable, they can go with you wherever you are.
It is an option then to consider a “password manager”. For your Windows computer, you can install Lastpass or Dashlane, software that will remember your passwords and store them safely on your computer. You will be able to access this software after setting up a code to open it, like a safety box, that only you can access.
For your phone (Apple or Android) you can install Passcontrol. This app stores your passwords and usernames (etc) by categories. You can install it and create a 5-digit code to access it safely.
There are many other password managers and many browsers, such as Google Chrome and Firefox, include them and will save your passwords automatically when you create accounts or log in.