Keep Your Passwords Separate People

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Despite the repeat recommendations from security experts it is still too common a situation where people are using weak or insecure passwords and worse using the same password between multiple online accounts and applications.

The security risks for using the same password for say your World of Warcraft or Facebook account and your financial institutions or Amazon.com are tremendous should those services be compromised.  Even the mighty game company Steam recently reported that their user database was accessed where encrypted credit card information may have been accessed.  Steam has over 30+ million user accounts and imagine the data that could be compromised the scale would be larger than even the Sony Playstation network in my opinion.

So what can we do? 

First, make sure your passwords are difficult.  For sure you need to think about never using just a plain word with numbers and you must not only mix case lettering but toss in special characters.  Don’t use a dictionary word and don’t use any dates or family member/pet names as a framework since most of this can be gathered from your social media profiles at some point.

Passwords should be compressed phrases, or meaningful enough that you can remember them, but obscure enough they aren’t easily cracked via a brute force attack.

A good example of a secure password would be taking the phrase:  The ice cream truck

And turning it into this:  Th3!ceCre@mTr*ck

Secondly, you can create a Base password that is like your framework for other websites, so all passwords are similar but unique enough that one can’t compromise another.

Something like:

PH@bulo*s   but you can add to it to make it unique for Facebook/Twitter…etc

PH@bulo*sTwt  or F@cePH@bulo*s for (Twitter/Facebook versions)

Take responsibility for your online accounts and make sure you don’t leave credit card profiles in your online accounts unless you have to.  Opt not to remember a credit card and save it to your profile unless you need to for most gaming accounts or online bill payment services.

Some credit cards offer 1 time numbers to make payments which is another good option.

-Justin Germino

Updated: November 15, 2011 — 9:00 am