Password security is arguably the most important cog in the wheel of I.T. security. If you use simple passwords and use the same one or two for every one of the accounts you use (we’ve all been guilty of this), you’re putting yourself and your business at more risk than you are aware of. Password security is one of your best lines of defense against cyber attacks, and it is entirely within your control!
So the question is, how do you build passwords in a way that is secure, unique, and memorable? Well…we have developed a simple system for you to use that has solved this issue for us, as well as our clients. Study the method below and let us know if you have any suggestions on what you like to do to keep things safe.
The first thing we’re going to do is build a nine character base-password that we will use for every one we create. It will look random to the untrained eye, but you will have the key to decrypting it. To develop this, you’re going to need three things….
Your favorite color
Your favorite food
Your favorite band
Now that you have these take the first three letters of each, and connect them all together in a string of numbers, letters, uppercase letters, and special keyboard characters (ex: !@#$%^ – these are the numbers on my keyboard plus the shift key).
So, for this example, I’ll say my favorite color is brown, my favorite food is olives, and my favorite band is The Beatles. This means, by incorporating the methods above, my password I build will look like this:
Above, BROWN is represented by BrO (two capital letters and one lowercase), OLIVE by 0lv (one number and two lowercase letters), and BEATLES by b3@ (one lowercase, one number, one special character). You’ll want to try and creatively substitute certain letters with numbers and special characters, as you can see we did with the “e” and “a” for b3@ – which represented our favorite band…The B3@tles!
Now that we’ve got our first part down, we need to develop a system that enables us to use this string in every password we make and still make them unique.
This part is easy…
Just use the name of the website you’re visiting!
So…if you were logging into Amazon, your password would like this:
Some other examples would be:
Now if you want to get REALLY secure, there’s one more step you can take to really locking down your stuff.
Instead of putting just the site title…move one keystroke to the left of the letter you intend to use (on one to the right if there is no letter on the left-hand side).
To illustrate this, look down at your keyboard, and let’s use PayPal as an example. Typing that out using the letters to the left of the intended ones…the letter “o” is to the left of “p”, there’s nothing to the left of “a”, so I’ll move to the right of it and pick, “s”, “t” is to the left of “y”, “o” again for “p”, and so on…
So with this logic, the word “PayPal” looks like “OstOsk” – pretty cool, huh?!
So our completed password for PayPal looks like this:
Now it’s your turn! Try building your own secure passwords and testing their strength in our calculator below. If you’d like to learn more about WHY building strong, unique passwords is so important, contact us and we’ll come into your business for a free talk about what makes this stuff so valuable. Take care, and happy passwording!