TECHNOLOGY: Password use made easy

Passwords are key to many areas of the Internet and digital activity. The problem becomes how to keep track of all your passwords and to use them properly.

Keeping track of passwords
A password manager is the most effective and practical method of keeping track of your password. Many good password manager programs can be found on the Internet. Our password managing program of choice is LASTPASS. The premium version gives multi-device/platform access allowing you access to your protected passwords anywhere, on any device, at a small monthly subscription fee.

Password creation
“123456,” “January18,” “Fermo” are poor password choices, though the third is a bit more challenging.

If you prefer to create your own passwords, here are some guidelines:

  • Use 8 – 12 characters
  • Use a combination of letters, numbers and characters
  • Use upper and lower case
  • Be creative but keep it simple

Some examples of practical passwords:
“F1do7581”        Based on pet and home phone digits
“A11ksmn?”       All kings men?
“TqBfJ0tF”         The quick brown fox jumped over the fence

Create password based on your favourite saying, in another language if you speak one. Password manager programs can generate good passwords for you and they record and retain every password in encrypted vaults.

The best method for using passwords
Electronic banking and purchasing is risky but used everywhere in today’s web world. The safest method for using passwords in the world of finance and commerce is to use the Two step authentication” method:

  1. You enter your password
  2. You are sent a code (by email or by phone) which you must enter on the site.

Two step authentication is the safest and best way to use your passwords. Step #1 is quite vulnerable no matter how good your password but Step #2 requires the hacker to have access to your email address or your phone. The email address is still a vulnerable exposure to hackers on the web. The phone use is the safest in password authentication.

Unfortunately, there is no foolproof method of password protection. Using the same password means you are delaying being hacked.

Changing your password regularly adds another layer to your security but still some risk remains.

Your only recourse is to:

  1. Follow all the recommendation made by your bank and or your retail merchant
  2. Check your statements each month and report any issues to the appropriate financial institution immediately.

Step #2 is a must as almost every retailer or bank will not hold you liable for fraudulent use of your accounts.

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