From social networking and shopping to banking and job seeking – you name it – we’re becoming dependent on the Internet to get our tasks done. With a variety of different accounts, we could be just one click away from our private and often sensitive information falling into the wrong hands.
We all know it’s not safe to create one password that you can use with all the sites that you visit. And using something that is easy to remember, like your Pet’s name, is definitely risky. Instead, it’s become increasingly important to create a different password that is on the longer, more complicated side – with at least eight characters and a unique set of uppercase and lowercase letters, numbers and symbols – for every account. But how realistic is it to remember a uniquely different password for each of the dozen or so sites that you might go to?
Our Internet security experts say you don’t have to – and without using the function on IE, Chrome, Firefox and other browsers that save your logins and basic information for auto form-filling. Sure, this is convenient because you don’t have to download or set up another app. But it isn’t secure as it allows anyone who gets a hold of your computer and uses your browser to easily access your accounts.
One way to protect access to your information without having to remember multiple passwords is to use a password manager like RoboForm, which helps you keep track of each and every secret code that gets you into your accounts. Password managers work as a web plug-in that you can download from any browser. It collects your passwords as you make your way around the Web, encrypts them and stores them either on your computer or on the company’s servers or sometimes both of these. You are given the only key — in the form of a master password that only you know.
This is especially helpful for keeping track of passwords that you create and then forget immediately because the password manager’s job is to remember your code and automatically fill it in whenever a password is requested on any site that you visit. Some password managers even generate obscure passwords for you, thereby imposing an extra level of security.
If you are more of a do-it-yourself kind of person, another way to keep track of all your usernames and corresponding passwords is to record them into a password-protected Excel spreadsheet. But instead of recording your actual password down, you may want to indicate a clue. For example, one hint might look like xXxxXx455, which might correspond to case-sensitive pass code bAnaNa455 or baxxxxxxx, which might correlate to something only you know, like your old license plate number. You might also use secret questions on the Excel sheet to help you remember certain pass codes.
That way, if someone were to break into your computer and figure out the password to your Excel spreadsheet, they would still be required to figure out your hints.
Remember, there is no one size fits all solution for every situation when it comes to storing and keeping track of your important passwords. But a multi-layered approach to password protection can certainly minimize your risk.