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December 27, 2016

Passwords – The Necessary Evil

Let’s face it, everyone hates passwords.  You hate passwords, I hate passwords, even the guy who created passwords must hate them by now!  You need a password to get into your computer, a password to open your mail, a password to listen to music, and even a password to change your password!

At some point, our fingerprint or some other bio-means will be the way to log into things, but until then we are stuck with them.  And since we have to use passwords, most people just use something familiar or easy to remember, like password.1, qwerty, 12345678, or a pet/family member’s name. See this Gizmodo article for the top passwords of 2015. These types of passwords are easily guessed/hacked/cracked, which leads me to today’s topic…

GET A PASSWORD MANAGER! 

There are many avenues you can choose, but the easiest is a password app for your smartphone.  Your smartphone is always with you, is a known device, and is easily accessible for various actions you may need to perform like using location, text messages, or even biometrics.  The most popular apps are 1Password, LastPass, and KeyPass. They’re cheap, or even free, on your favorite app store!

When you open any of the apps, you’ll typically be prompted to create a password to open the software in the future.  I totally hear you right now…”Wait…one more password I have to remember?” But yes, you need this password.  You’ll want to use a good one, because this is the gatekeeper to all of your credentials, and if you ever forget it you may never be able to get back into the software again.  My app of choice is 1Password.  With 1Password, once you set it up, you can also use your fingerprint to logon with your iPhone.  After you’ve done that you’ll begin by creating an entry for each of the password’s you need.  You’ll add the username, password, website it’s for, notes, and anything else you’d like to add that your app has fields for.  Some even have included browsers in the app where it will auto-populate the login information and login for you. It’s a one-stop shop for every password you ever had.  The only tedious part is adding all your passwords initially (and keeping up with them if you ever change the password), but once you have it in there, that’s it.  You now have your own personal password vault.  The gem of these password managers and why you should use one is that you can create large, complicated passwords and have the app keep them for reference when you need it.  Most can also automatically create insane passwords for you, for each account you have, that are nearly impossible to crack.  See my video below demonstrating 1Password account creation.

One last thing…make sure not to use the same password for your accounts.  You need to vary it up, and add complexity to them all.  I’m not saying you should create a password like “D*3jKa*@(aNv14^@j!” just to log into your email or Facebook, but then again, given all the personal/medical/financial information in these apps nowadays…maybe you should?

Stay safe out there!

Erik

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