Passwords: Thinking Outside of the Box

If you’re like most people, you have more login accounts than you can possibly remember. Online bank accounts, social networks, emails accounts—they each require a password. It can be overwhelming, so it’s tempting to use the same password for every account. At least you’ll remember it, right? But, you also leave yourself vulnerable to spammers, hackers, and others trying to attack your accounts and get your information.

But some simple outside-of-the-box thinking can protect you from even the more advanced attacks.

Ideally, you should have a different password for every login. It’s possible, and can be surprisingly easy to remember. You can come up with your own system, but maybe start with something like this . . .

Create a Core Password

Choose a non-English word. Then, mix it up with some uppercase characters, lowercase characters, numbers, and non-alphabetic characters (such as !, #, $, %). For example:

·       Amour246!

Add a Variable

Now let’s add a variable that’s based on the service you’re logging into. For example, adding the first two letters of the service name:

·       For your account, add “am” to the beginning:  amAmour246!

·       For your Facebook account, add “fa” to the beginning:  faAmour246!

·       For your eTrade account, add “et” to the beginning:  etAmour246!

You get the idea. And since you choose the core password and the variable method, it should be 1) easy for you to remember and 2) hard for hackers to figure out. The more complex the variable, the harder it will be to crack. 

It’s still always smart to change your password every few months. Even a small change to your password (like maybe choosing a new core password, but keeping the same variable) can help to keep hackers at bay.

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