Now more than ever, it is extremely important that you do all you can to protect your online identity and your personal accounts. In a recent survey conducted by telesign.com, eight in 10 people said they are worried about their online security. In addition, seven in 10 people said they no longer trust passwords to protect their online accounts.
However in stark contrast, the same survey revealed that 21% of the respondents have been using the same password for the past 10 years, and 47% were using the same password for the previous five years. Finally, 75% of the respondents said they were using the same password for multiple accounts.
No wonder then, that when the survey was conducted in mid-2015, 40% of respondents said that either their accounts had been hacked or their password stolen.
Adding to the problem is the revelation that a majority of people use passwords that are extremely easy to hack, such as children’s birthdays or common phrases. Believe it or not, some people use “12345678” or “qwertyu” as their password.
What is the Best Account Password Practice?
The minimum requirement to virtually eliminate any of your accounts getting hacked or your passwords stolen is to have a different strong password for each and every online account you have. A strong password is a password that contains both capital and lowercase letters, numbers, and special symbols. In addition, a strong password is usually more than eight characters long. Most importantly, a strong password does not contain any words or phrases. The string of digits is completely random.
How am I Supposed to Remember All Those Passwords?
The good news is you don’t have to remember a different password for every account. You can use one of the popular password management programs to remember all your passwords for you. You only have to remember one, main password to log into the password manager. Once you are in, the password management program will login to all your accounts for you.
I use RoboForm to manage my passwords. You can get a trial version here to give it a test run yourself. I highly recommend you try it.
Here’s how it works.
How I Use RoboForm to Hack-Proof All My Online Accounts.
RoboForm is a desktop program. It installs a plug-in on your browser. When you login to an online account for the first time, RoboForm asks if you wanted to remember the login and password. Unlike most password managers that come with the browser, RoboForm has a master password. It won’t log the user into any of the remembered accounts until that master password has been entered.
My RoboForm master password is extremely complicated. I used the diceware method to create the password. Basically, the dice method uses a database of 7000 words. The dice method will help you string together a phrase of eight random words, which you can then memorize by creating a pneumonic device with them.
For example, your password could be: cupfroggarbagetundrachadlightsnowcamel.
This password is virtually impossible to crack. Even with a state-of-the-art password cracking machine, it would take billions of years to crack this password. Yet, you can memorize this password in just a few minutes by creating a pneumonic device with images in your head. You can imagine a frog in a cup sitting on top of a pile of garbage in the tundra, with a guy named Chad shining a light on it will sitting on a camel while it’s snowing.
You should never write this password down anywhere. Simply commit it to memory using the mnemonic device. This is the only password you will ever have to remember.
Then, for your email account, bank accounts, etc., you can use RoboForm’s password generator to generate random 16 character passwords for each of your accounts. RoboForm will then remember these passwords for you and log into your accounts for you with the press of a button.
If someone else steals your computer, they will never be able to access your passwords because they first need to enter the master password, which would take billions years to crack.
To get an idea of how this works, try out the RoboForm trial for a couple weeks to get an idea of how it works. I’ve been using RoboForm for over five years now, and I would never go back to using my browser’s internal password manager, on my own previous method of just using the same password for every account.
Here’s a video I made demonstrating and reviewing Roboform.