Password generation has become more sophisticated as the years have passed; a lowercase password such as ‘password123’ no longer cuts it, leaving your accounts vulnerable. But even worse than a simple password is a repeated one; the same password reused over multiple sites is bad news – not only can hackers compromise the account they are trying to hack, but also get into your other accounts using the same password. It’s time to step up your password game.
That little notebook you have in your desk drawer? You know the one – the one with all your passwords scribbled in it? Rip it up; there’s a more secure and convenient method of memorising your passwords, and it’s called a password manager – the digital equivalent of that notebook, but far superior. Not only will a password manager save your passwords, but it will also create new ones when required, securely store payment information, notify you if your password has been breached, tell you if your password is easily guessed, and fill in your personal details on websites whenever you log into a secure site or app.
Some software has this functionality built in, for example, Apple Keychain has recently added alerts for reused or weak passwords and lets you know if a password has been subject to a data breach. However, a standalone password manager often offers extra functionality, for example, many offer family plans, meaning you don’t have to share passwords for joint accounts via text or on a torn-out notebook page.
Password managers will require a master password to allow access. Many have tips as to how to generate a strong, memorable password master password, but a good tip is to use a string of four of more unrelated words, separated with dashes, for example, eyes-priest-tomato-hallway. This is not only memorable, but also unlikely to be guessed or generated by a hacker. This password is the only one we recommend writing down, but do store it in a secure place, such as a locked desk drawer or safe.