Top 5 Tips for Keeping Your Passwords Safe

1 – Keep ‘em Guessing

Never use personal information to create a username, login or password (i.e. names of pets, relatives, nicknames, dates of birth, birth location, etc…). In this day and age where information is often finding its way onto the Web and identity theft experts have become ever-savvy at ferreting out these details, it is CRUCIAL to choose usernames and passwords that are disassociated from your personal history. Does it make it harder to remember? Yes, but you’ll be thankful when you’re spared the potentially hundreds of hours and thousands of dollars it often costs to fix a stolen identity.

2 – Keep it Fresh – Diversify

Avoid using the SAME login and password across multiple sites and/or cards and accounts. If a thief gains access to one, it will be like a house of cards, allowing them to quickly wreak havoc across your entire financial portfolio. Are you the type that says, “I never share my pin?” It’s amazing how often those “unshared” digits are misused by jilted lover or a nosy housecleaner.

3 – Bigger is Better!

Cliché but true. Studies have consistently shown that a large fraction of all user-chosen passwords are readily guessed automatically. Shorter passwords are more susceptible to commercially available password recovery tools. Such software is capable of testing 200,000 passwords per second. To improve the cipher strength of your password, longer passwords are better. Include a minimum of 8 characters – using both upper and lower case letters and a mix of letters, numerals and symbols. Do not use words found in the English dictionary.

4 – Think Like a Thief – Don’t Make it Easy on Them

Put yourself into a thief’s shoes – don’t even think about using an overly simplified password such as “12345678,” “222222,” “abcdefg.” Avoid sequential passwords or using passwords derived from the use of adjacent letters on your keyboard; this will not make your password secure. Also, avoid using only look-alike substitutions of numbers or symbols. Criminals and other malicious users who know enough to try and crack your password will not be fooled by common look-alike replacements, such as replacing an ‘i’ with a ‘1’ or an ‘a’ with ‘@’ as in “[email protected]@re” or “[email protected]”. But these substitutions can be effective when combined with other measures, such as length, misspellings, or variations in case, to improve the strength of your password.

5 – Consider a Password Manager

There are many decent applications on the market that will digitally safeguard your various passwords. Avoid using the free ones “built-in” to browsers as these have been widely exposed for their security flaws. Consider software like Password Manager by Large Software that memorizes and securely stores each username and password that you enter on a Web site. Whenever you return to that site, Password Manager will automatically complete your login information and click the submit button, making your login a snap. The software also includes a password generator in case you’re having difficulty coming up with a secure login on your own. All accounts and passwords are encrypted and protected with a single Master Password, keeping your confidential information secure. This offers the added benefit of minimizing the number of logins and passwords that you have to readily remember on a day-to-day basis.

This post was guest blogged by Nick Forcier, CEO of Large Software


45 thoughts on “Top 5 Tips for Keeping Your Passwords Safe”

  1. I keep all of my password in a password protected spreadsheet, that I upload to my cell phone… it helps whenever I can’t remember one.

    Steven-Sanders’s last blog post: Win $100 & Give The Gift Of Hope

    1. Ryan McLean says:

      That is a great idea
      Sometimes I forget my passwords and I need a help like this
      I hate having to always click the “i forgot my password” button

      1. Agent 001 says:

        Ryan use Password Managers. They are safe and easy to use. I always use and recommend RoboForm.

        Read my review on RoboForm to know more.

        Agent 001’s last blog post: WordPress Automatic Upgrade Tutorial

        1. Agree With you Robo form is really a good sofware,
          i amuseing it from a year or so,but now i dont remember any of my logins

          CareerGears-Education Guide’s last blog post: CBSE Schools in Coimbatore

    2. Philip says:

      What if you forget the password to the spreadsheet? :O.

      Also I have most of my hard to remember (over 20 characters) written on a piece of paper.

      1. Do a prison break move, get a tattoo the password hidden it it..

        BlogTipsForBeginners’s last blog post: 5 Easy Steps To Set Your Blog On Auto-Pilot

    3. Try using PassPack.com.

      1. fas says:

        There are many options but best to combine very irrelevant stuff together.

        fas’s last blog post: Why USB Drives Are So Clever

  2. its funny reading this. When I was working head office in a bank a few years back, my clients/accounts were so sensitive for the bank (commercial dept) that I had to enter a password before entering my main password..neither could match, one would expire every 2 weeks while the main password would last 1 month..then there were other passwords for other files and documents…it was overload!

    one thing that worries me about password managers is the fact that if your laptop is lost/stolen, the user can now get into all sites that might be in your cache/history by having a auto password filler…it might be a great tool for some, but a open invitation to potential problems for others.

    1. Tran Harry says:

      The convenience of these new browsers which offer password remembering features scares me.

      Aside from say a facebook account or a twitter account I never use these password storing features.

      Tran Harry’s last blog post: Economic News April 10, 2009

      1. fas says:

        Well its best to have a password with caps and numbers mixed then let the browser save it and forget it 🙂

        fas’s last blog post: Why USB Drives Are So Clever

  3. regie says:

    Wow! I’ve done all 5 tips. I passed! lol
    There are times that I can’t remember what username and passwords that I’m using for a certain site, so I have to open a some files on my phone (just like steven sanders) and on some email just to recover it. So I think it’s safe enough. 🙂

    regie’s last blog post: Transform your Windows Xp into Vista or MAC

  4. Great Tips!

    I use a variation of passwords across accounts of a similar topic. Eg for banking it might be favourite holiday destinations (it isn’t!) but then everything to do with banking has similar passwords so if I forget I only have 3 or so to try!

    BlogTipsForBeginners’s last blog post: Why YOU Should Start A Blog – The Top 10 Reasons And 26 More

  5. Paul U says:

    I don’t know this before. Thanks for sharing. I think that I will be applying this soon.

    Paul U’s last blog post: Clickbank now accepts the Philippines

  6. Very nice article about an important topic that is rarely discussed. At work they tell you to make sure your passwords are secure and then don’t provide tools or instruction.

  7. Tran Harry says:

    Does anyone else use their Blackberry’s Password Keeper to store their passwords? I use it extensively and while I never had to deal with an issue where my phone got lost/stolen yet, I would hope that it does the job if it were to ever occur.

    Tran Harry’s last blog post: Economic News April 10, 2009

    1. For Windows Mobile phones, you can download a program called Pocket Cryptex that works in much the same way.

      It’s a lot like the spreadsheet that’s password protected, only you can’t transfer it between your computer and your phone.

      Steven-Sanders’s last blog post: Win $100 & Give The Gift Of Hope

  8. mrs. right says:

    It is good to be reminded of the necessity to safe guard your personal info, and I guess at times we all have been careless about the sign in names and passwords we use. I value the useful info provided, and the reminder to keep ‘em guessing. I wasn’t aware of the product mentioned that can store all user names and passwords, I will have to look into that. Again, thanks much!

    mrs. right’s last blog post: an eBay question?

  9. mrs. right says:

    Great tips, and how many of us do actually do that – use personal info as part of OR all of a log-in or password. It was a good reminder. I never heard of the product mentioned that can store your user id’s and passwords for you too. Good info, I will have to look at that. Again, thanks for the reminder to “keep ’em guessing”.

    mrs. right’s last blog post: an eBay question?

  10. Dwayne says:

    Great ideas here, these really work. If you don’t believe me, ask my ex, lol Only took one time for me to figure out how to keep her out of my email lol.

    Dwayne’s last blog post: Is Twitter and Facebook ruining your blog?

  11. Teen Forum says:

    Great blog post, common sense password techniques really but not many people follow them.

  12. mymytri says:

    Well.I use all methods you have mentioned except password manager.

  13. Have ongoing virus protection software in place and do a full virus check every few days. Some viruses can access and copy passwords and personal details directly from the user’s keyboard but a good virus checker will find and remove viruses before they can activate. Try Norton Anti-Virus software, you’ll find it at: http://www.symantec.com. I’ve tried numerous others, including McAfee – http://www.McAfeestore.com – but for me Norton wins hands down.

  14. Ionut says:

    I am using Keepass available here: http://keepass.info/ to keep my passwords. I need just a master pasword, to open the encrypted file. Or the other alternative is to use truecrypt in traveler mode with an ecrypted container, or also gpg to encrypt your pass file

    Ionut’s last blog post: Picasa 3 on OpenSUSE 11.1

  15. Nice tips, but I keep forgetting my passwords

  16. Splendid Kid says:

    Good that my passwords are hard to guess. It’s a combination of numbers, letters and symbols 🙂

    Splendid Kid’s last blog post: Make Money Online Selling Private Advertising

  17. Good tips. I think many of us take this lightly. So this is a good reminder to practice good password control all the time.

    Peter Lee

    Work At Home Blog’s last blog post: Less SEO Tags for More Visitors

  18. Chris says:

    Nice tips! I use 1Password on my Mac and iPhone. It works great.

    Chris’s last blog post: Affiliate Theme 15% Off Discount Coupon Code

  19. I’m paying the price for not changing my passwords. 4 blogs and 2 websites down and still trying to figure out what else is affected.

    Chris De La Rosa’s last blog post: Herbal treatments for depression.

  20. Agent 001 says:

    John using Password Managers is the best option. They are safe and easy to use. I always use and recommend RoboForm. I have never heard of Large Software. Well Robo Form is well known. Robo Form is key logger safe.

    Read my review on RoboForm to know more.

    Agent 001’s last blog post: WordPress Automatic Upgrade Tutorial

  21. Novaro says:

    I made them and stored the list of passwords in MS Excel in many categories. More than 50 passwords I created for any accounts in my internet surfing. It’s very effective ‘coz I won’t remembered them at all. How about you?

    Novaro’s last blog post: Great Digital Photos TIPS

  22. Joseph says:

    Upgrading foxmarks to Xmarks for password handling is a start.It’s better than writing them down on the notepad.

    Joseph’s last blog post: The power of Social Media explained in plain english

  23. Online TV says:

    These are some good tips but I think that we should not use a password manager because people using our computer may see our passwords. And If we use many different passwords and user names, than I suggest you to write them down on a paper and to keep that paper in a safe place, as I do. The probability that someone will still your passwords from your pass manager, is much higher than the probability that they will still it from your home from the paper.

  24. Home Jobs says:

    Using a combination of alphabets, numbers, Uppercase, and symbols are the best, but you need to make sure that you remember your passwords. Using different passwords for different sites should be good, but its not easy to remembers. In your personal computer, you can use password managers. Anyway, forgot password option can help if we forget our passwords

  25. Someone I know just had their ebay cracked, it was quite the mess. You can’t put enough thought into the password dilemma.

    [email protected] last blog post: Friday Mix – No. 4

  26. Creating a good and easiely rememberable password is not that difficult.

    You just have to think about something that you can remember, and combine it with other things, which will make the password stronger.

    That combination will give you the best password ever.

    Steve

    Make Money Online 4 Idiots’s last blog post: NCMedia Selling Clickbank Forex Empire On Sitepoint

  27. I use a password manager, is the only way I can do manage all of them.

    Marketing Business Review’s last blog post: Working From Home Business That Pays You In Your First 24 Hours

  28. I have a good memory, so I remember all of my passwords.

    TYCP Entertainment Magazine’s last blog post: Courtney Van Dusen Interview

  29. Free Movies says:

    i do use long password with special symbol.i think it is the best way to secure your password.

  30. Lots of website require registration to use it, i use exel to save all my website username dan password. Every website, different password.

  31. Great tips. Seems that at this point in my life – a password manager might be helpful!

    Smart Boy Designs’s last blog post: Love Your Blog Topic Like Stephen Hawking Loves Science

  32. I tend to use the same password on a few accounts. If it got figure out I’m basically dead – people will have access to many of my accounts. 😀

    Exposing SEO Techniques’s last blog post: Listen to Howard Stern Exposing a Screeching Beyonce

  33. Any extra tips I can get are always appreciated.

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