4 Ways to Protect Your Online Passwords

Posted on 28 February 2009 | by Ryan Battles

A content management system can be the most secure piece of software imaginable, but if someone else guesses your password, all of that security goes away. More an more in today's day and age, we are putting our lives online, and someone simply guessing a user name and password can be the worst kind of identity theft. Recently, Monster.com was hacked into, and the username and passwords of many of its members were compromised. If you were one of those members, and you use the same user name and password for everything, it would be a good idea to finish reading this article and change a few of those. In order to prevent this sort of trouble (or at least minimize it as much as possible), we have come up with five ways to protect your online passwords:

1- Never use a simple password that is easily guessed. Instead, try one of these tricks:

  • Think of a lyric to a song, and then use the first letter of those words. For example, "I shot the sherif, but I did not shoot the deputy" becomes "IstsbIdnstd". Throw your year of birth on there where the comma would go, and you've got "Ists1975bIdnstd".
  • Make a pattern on the number keys. If you start at the 7 key and type in a sequence of numbers that form a large number 7, then you will have "78951". If you type out a combination, say for "CS2", you will have "9874123987456321789654123". Easy to remember but impossible to guess!

2- Use a different password for different sites. This can get confusing really fast, but you can either use a password retaining program such as 1password (Mac) or KeePass (Win), or you can try subtle variations for each website. For example, a password for eBay might have an "EB" appended to it 3- Don't put your passwords on a sticky note on your computer screen. For that matter, don't print them out or write them down at all unless you plan on locking that piece of paper up somewhere. 4- Change your passwords every once and a while. This may sound like a big ordeal, but perhaps it is as simple as adding a common number to the end of them. Now, please don't use these exact suggestions either. I don't want to see anybody using EBIsts1975bIdnstd01 for their eBay password, I will know how you got that crazy piece of jibberish.

Tags: small business

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