Today we have thousands of services and apps vying for our attention, trying to get us to spend our precious time and money registering for their sites, procuring their wares, all in an attempt to fill another small gap in our digital lives. So we fill in their forms, enter our name, email address, contact information and then a password… the same password, as its the one we remember and the one we use on our email because we’ve had it for years and, well, why not, it’ll be fine… right?
But what if its not…?
A problem arrises when one of your accounts is hacked, maybe on the Sony network or Google, Apple, eBay and Yahoo, the list of high profile hacks goes on, because as long as there is money to be made by selling personal information, there will be a reason for hackers to spend time and effort accessing the databases of some of the biggest companies on the internet.
So how does one mitigate the problem? How do you and I stop a hack on a site we are a member of, from affecting our entire digital life?
Well, the simplest thing we can do is to make all our passwords different… I know right, sounds scary, confusing and it would be impossible to remember them all… well its doesn’t have to be.
What we need is a pattern, a way of making every password different, but always knowing what that password is. I personally use the last 3 letters of the domain name and then a password which is made up of a series of letters, numbers and symbols. So if we imagine that my password is ‘p@ssw0rd‘, and we need a new password for www.facebook.com then, the last three letters of the domain are ‘ook‘, then adding this to ‘p@ssw0rd’, gives us ‘ookp@ssw0rd‘. Now for extra security we can capitalise the first letter which gives us ‘Ookp@ssw0rd‘. Now we have an 11 character password containing upper and lower case letters, numbers and symbols… perfect!
Another example would be for your gmail.com account. First take the last 3 letters of the domain, ‘ail’, capitalise the first letter ‘Ail’ then apply our universal password of ‘p@ssw0rd’ so that we end up with ‘Ailp@ssw0rd’…
Others would be:
- yahoo.com = ‘Hoop@ssw0rd’
- amazon.com = ‘Zonp@ssw0rd’
- flickr.com = ‘Ckrp@ssw0rd’
So now you can have a password thats simple to remember, almost impossible to crack and different for every website that you sign up for.