I'm not sure about you, but I feel like I have about a gazillion logins for online accounts these days. Okay, that may be a slightly made up number, but there are a LOT. And we are warned not to make them too obvious, and to make sure we're changing them regularly.
So, how on earth do we keep track of all those passwords?
Ben has recorded a handy 'Ask the #Nerdherd' video to answer this eternal question. Here are three solutions he's identified to making password management a little more manageable:
1. Use a pass-phrase instead of a password.
Instead of using a single word, in many cases you can use a pass phrase - sequence of random words and characters strung together to create a password. This can be more memorable for you, but also more complex and therefore harder to hack into. Just be sure to use something nonsensical (eg. "my horses cats brothers teeth are green"), rather than a quote or a phrase that is easily guessed.
2. Use multi factor authentication where possible.
Multi-factor (MFA) or two factor authentication (2FA) has an enhanced level of security because it requires more than one method of authentication from independent categories to verify the user's identity for a login or transaction. Generally the system works by requiring you to do an initial login (eg. enter your username and password), and then once you've successfully logged on to the system, you'll have to enter a secondary random code which is generated and sent to your mobile phone or appears on a security device, like this key tag from ANZ. If the code you enter (and you'll only have a brief window of time to do this) is correct, you will gain access to the system you're logging into.
Many people already use this system for banking (especially on business accounts), but it is becoming more widely used.
3. Use a program like Last pass to keep them all in one place.
A system like LastPass can be a handy tool to store all your passwords in one place, so that you only need one secure master passphrase to access them all. You can download an app so that LastPass can enter all the login details for your accounts on your devices as you need them. They use encryption and multi factor authentication to ensure your password data is kept safe.
With our ability to run our whole lives from a smart phone, it's inevitable that our list of accounts to access and passwords to remember also increases. But we also need to make sure we're keeping all those accounts as secure as possible. Hopefully these three handy tips making the ever-growing list of passwords both secure and manageable.