Passwords

I’m writing a long article on Evernote tagging, but it’s not ready yet. So here’s a nice, gentle reminder about passwords.

 

Now on behalf of the IT industry (geeks) I must apologise for passwords. I mean what a stupid system. You couldn’t think of a more geeky, clumsy, silly system if you tried. But we’re stuck with it. Get used to it. Like them or not, your passwords are the only thing holding the bad guys back from your money. They are the keys to the kingdom.

 

The difficult bit is to be aware that every password is valuable, even the ones you think are meaningless or trivial. The way modern crooks work is they leap frog from one system (web site) to another. So they break in to some stupid web site that you only ever used once, you never went back to and probably forgot about it. And maybe that web site did not keep your credit card, but it did store your email. And they use that email and the stolen password and try them on other web sites. And eventually they break into your Facebook, and Ok, that’s not all that important either. But from there they leverage your date of birth or school or something else trivial and they break into your iTunes account or something that really does have your credit card. Or they get your identity. You see how this works?

 

So every password you ever use anywhere is important. And you can’t re-use a password on more than one web site, EVER! You need new strong passwords for EVERY different web site you use. Yurgh!

 

When it comes to passwords, length matters most. Longer is better. As long as it isn’t in the dictionary (that is a single word) any long password is good. And most are way better than stupid complex jumbles of letters, numbers, upper case, lower case, special punctuation characters etc.

 

Good passwords;

BigRedDog

Myfavouritemartian

twasbrilligandtheslithytoves

Talwsatgigasbasth

(The first letters of There’s A Lady Who’s Sure All That Glitters Is Gold And She’s Buying A Stairway To Heaven)

FacebookBigRedDog

TwitterBigRedDog

ItunesBigRedDog

 

 

Bad passwords;

pencil

password

freddy

(or whatever your dog’s name is)

A^to9c@b

(who the heck can remember that one?)

 

A Word document on the desktop with a list of all your passwords so you can copy and paste them is a good idea. A really DUMB idea, but a good one never the less. Do not do this. Get a real password manager program. There are plenty. Mac has one built in to OS X called Keychain. There is 1Password for those on Mac, Windows, IOS or Android. LastPass and lots of others. In this day and age, you pretty much need some sort of password manager to keep track of all these darn passwords.

 

Take passwords seriously. They matter. Sorry.