Getting a grip on your passwords and protecting yourself from hackers

Getting a grip on your passwords and protecting yourself from hackers

If you are still writing down passwords or allowing your browser to save them, you’ll appreciate these best practices for password generation and protection.

We got on the phone with IT man extraordinaire John Glenn (not the astronaut) of Neotech Inc. as well as ventured out onto the “dark web” to bring you the best password advice.

The bottom line is you probably need to go to a password manager such as LastPass or RoboForm. Life Hacker has a thorough comparison piece on the different managers available: see story here. They cover features, usability, support, and security. All password managers generate passwords, have auto form filling, secure password sharing, and secure notes.

John Glenn compares the one password option to the lockbox on a house. However, if you still want to keep up with the password for your home Wi-Fi and Amazon account, here are the do’s and don’ts.

How to create the best password

 John Glenn says, “The best password is one you can remember.” But, he also says don’t do the following:

  • Don’t go for some random word. There are 75K popular English words that hackers can crack in their sleep
  • Don’t write your password down
  • Don’t choose to let your browser remember passwords
  • Don’t login to your bank account or other personal info sites via the free Wi-Fi at Starbucks, the airport, etc. Hackers get you by snooping or stealing data that contains your “hash” (mortals don’t need to care about the hash. It’s an algorithm systems use to store passwords in a simplified form). Hackers hang around places with an evil twin Wi-Fi waiting to grab your info.

Here are the do’s:

  • Create a password you can remember but that’s complex
  • Use symbols, lower and upper case
  • Make it at least 13 characters and symbols

 Generate your own best password like this:

Keep in mind that cracking a password is a function of math. Your best password is no less than 13 characters and symbols. You want to be able to remember your password.

Here’s a simple formula: the name of your company + a piece of your phone number + your initials. For example –

Churchill’s Bar and Grill = Church

336-455-6766 = 455

Willy Churchill = WC

Ok, so we have Church455WC. Now, let’s mix it up with some symbols that you can remember simply by hitting the shift key.

Church$%%Wc is your new password.

You can alter as you’d like, but hopefully you get the point. No one seems to know how many hackers are out there, but we know they exist. Common sense still goes a long way.

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