Password advice

I get asked a lot about passwords. Including how to create them, how to remember them and what to do if you can’t remember them?

Passwords are a fact of life, if you use any sort of technology. They form the first line of defence to your data and your online activities. Sometimes they are not required and quite often they are inadequate. What I mean by this, is I often visit people who live alone yet use a password to start their desktop computer, for the most part this is a waste of time as no one else has access to their PC and with a bit of knowledge any data can be accessed without the password. On the other hand some people use simple and easy to guess passwords on their email accounts and then the same password for banking and for buying things online.

In this guide I give you password advice that will help you create a strong yet easy to remember password that can be used in different ways to give you the security you need. I will also introduce a way to track and record your passwords so you never need lose your passwords again.

Passphrase vs Password

Instead of using a simple meaningful word as your password such as ‘sunshine’ consider turning it into a phrase with at least 3 words such as ‘bringsunshinetoday’. That’s easy to remember and yet is infinitely more difficult to crack.

Make it more Complex

Using the above example ‘bringsunshinetoday’, it is easy to make this phrase into a much more complex password. Why would you want to do that? Well a simple password is fine for logging onto a computer but if you want to protect your email accounts then it’s vital you use something that's different and more complex. So let’s take our example and capitalise the beginning of each word and add a number to the end: ‘BringSunshineToday532’. Now we have a password that meets all the requirements for most email systems and fundamentally its still easy to remember.

Now for banking and online purchasing I would suggest you use another passphrase but you don’t have to if you just apply a further level of complexity to our existing password. For instance lets now swap each vowel for a number: ‘Br1ngS6nsh1n3T0d4y532’. This now is a very complex password and yet is still easy to remember.

Password Manager

A password manager is an app you can download onto your computer that generates very strong passwords and then stores them in a secure database. You still have to use a password to access the database, but then the password manager will automatically enter your username and password into a website’s login form for you. This way you never have to worry about choosing a good password for each website you visit, and remembering it. This is the easiest and most secure method available today.

Here are a few online Password Managers you might want to try: