Password Security on The Internet

I was just assisting a friend in improving her password security for the Internet and decided maybe it would be worth posting for general consumption. With the growth of Internet usage for every facet of life, many people enter into this new world without giving any thought to making their passwords secure.

If you use online banking, shop with Amazon, use Hotmail or Gmail, Facebook or other social media sites, then you really need to use a secure password. Most email accounts and Facebook accounts get hacked because the person chose a simple password, such as their child’s name.

Obviously you want a password that is easy to remember and is still hard for a computer program to decipher.

Here is a simple approach and it will give you a password that you can remember and is still ranked high by security standards.

First choose a word or phrase you can remember easily. You want at least an 8 character password. The more the better, but don’t go crazy. For this example, let’s assume my phrase is “cows eat grass”.

Now lets make that phrase secure. To begin with, passwords cannot contain blanks, so lets remove them. You can change it to “cowseatgrass” or “cows_eat_grass”. Some websites will not allow special characters and for them you would need to use the first method.

Now for the first case, let’s introduce numbers and upper case letters. You might wind up with “C0w5EatGra55”. Special characters increase security and I use them. For the second example. It might look like “C0w$_Eat_Gra55”. While both are very secure, the second example is much more secure than the first.

I use the second method if the site allows special characters. I have two sites, out of about 30, that do not allow me to use special characters. For those sites I used the first method. This way I have one password to remember for all sites. I only have to remember which sites allow or don’t allow special characters.

I keep a list of all websites that I use that require passwords in the event that I ever have a problem. It is not a bad idea to change your passwords at least twice a year. Some recommend more often.

If you are going to play in the Internet sandbox you should remember to use protection. Another security area you might want to check into is VPN, especially if you use a lot of WiFi sites. I have written that up before HERE. I use WiTopia.

 

9 thoughts on “Password Security on The Internet

  1. Just a suggestion for web sites that carry financial services: avoid using the same password for all of them.

  2. At LEAST eight characters? How’s this –

    SneezySleepyDopeyDocHappyBashfulGrumpySnowWhite

    Works for me though it’s a little long to type all the time.

  3. since i don’t trust my memory, i keep a list of passwords on document ”hidden” in my hard drive. the passwords consist of a nonsense mix of numbers, letters and characters (where permitted) and i copy/paste the pw into the appropriate field to foil keystroke loggers. i don’t use same pw for any two sites tho i might change just one character on a pw and use it elsewhere. each pw has a 2 or 3 letter code preceding it. for gmail, i use something like gmr%7@k ^4a+2b*>W2b. of course, you’ll want to keep a secure back up or two : )

    i actually try to avoid typing anything (including this note : ) into a site by writing on a word document with my familiar font and spell-check and doing the copy/paste maneuver.

    i also used a keystroke scrambler with firefox until firefox upgraded and it didn’t work any longer.
    norm : ))~

  4. All great tips.

    But you are missing one important element, you are only using English words. Adding in Spanish to part of your password will at least double the work of anyone attempting to unscramble it.

    And don’t use “yoquieroTacoBell”, that’s my on line Dominos password! 🙂
    jim and nena
    fort worth, tx

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