For those who don’t know, I have a 9-5 gig doing (you guessed it) Apple IT Consulting. I guess you can call my job “living in the grey” because I the company I work for is dope and my job combines my passion for Apple, gadgets, and helping folks out…and extra income coming in.
When we help business clients with their tech, we have to get their passwords in order to access, improve, and streamline the many services they use on a daily basis.
Let me tell you, the passwords I’ve seen that some businesses (multi-million dollar companies) use is nothing short of “You must REALLY want folks to access your stuff don’t you?” As a service, and an intervention, we suggest clients utilize and manage stronger passwords.
Now I’m pretty sure I’ve spoken about this on my blog on separate posts, but I’m going to bring it all together and give you 3 basic steps you should take to generate secure passwords and reduce the chances of somebody accessing your information that’s probably spread out all over the web.
1. Use A Passphrase
You have probably read that in order to have a good password, you need a minimum of:
- 8 characters
- Upper case & lower case letters
- Numbers & special characters
Which could have your password looking something like this: !QAZ2wsx#EDC. Looks secure right? Surprisingly, not as secure as you would think because password-hacking software is more likely to guess a randomized set of numbers, letters, and special characters versus a passphrase that is harder to guess. A secure passphrase would look something like this:
Y0Momma$Hous3! or Th3seHe@uxA1ntL0yal!
Using a passphrase that combines secure elements with a phrase or sentence, makes your passwords harder to crack, and easier to remember.
2. Use A Password Manager
Since everything is online, you probably have fifty-eleven hundred passwords that you have to remember just to get through your daily activities. Guess what? Checking that box that allows your browser to “remember this password” is (while terribly convenient) a bad idea. You may be safe from web hackers, but what if somebody steals your computer?
I recommend you use a 3rd-party Password Manager. They can do several things:
- Generate stronger passwords for your accounts
- Manage your secure passwords all in one place
- Encrypt your passwords and make it easy to use them on the web and mobile
I use both 1Password and LastPass (haven’t decided which one I will use full-time) and both of them specialize in keeping all your passwords, passcodes, and other sensitive information secure, but easy to use. Both have freemium and paid plans. Doesn’t matter which one you decide to use, they are better than letting your web browser or worse, an Excel spreadsheet keep all your passwords. Tip: Both have free trials, and yes, I’m an affiliate of both.
3. Use 2-Factor Authentication
If you can’t (or won’t) be bothered with coming up with memorable passphrases, or use a password manager, and would prefer to just use a variation of one password for ALL your sites and services, at least enable 2-Factor Authentication which will force you to verity who you are twice, before you can access your sensitive information.
Actually, 2-Factor Authentication may be one of the most secure ways to lockdown your information because it requires 1) something your know (your password) and 2) something you have (your phone) in order to gain access, which would require a hacker or thief have access to both in order to steal your stuff.
If you’re uber-concerned about security, combining two, or all three of these steps would make it (almost) impossible for somebody to steal your information from you. Nothing is perfect but me, myself, personally…I would prefer to make it as hard as possible…and I don’t even run a multi-million dollar company.
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