Safest PasswordsThe safest passwords to use are those that are completely random, use combinations of numbers, letters and special characters and are 8 characters or more. "d2#-.6hGr,!oP2" would be a good example. Next, you need to use a different one for each website. Plus, you shouldn't write them down, put them in a spreadsheet or word document (even if they are mixed with bogus ones or translated in some way), and definitely don't write them on the front of your laptop with a sharpie like a friend of mine! This is where you need help in the form of a Password Manager.
Password ManagerA password manager is a small app or program which helps you remember all your passwords, and more importantly, which password goes with which site. There are many different password managers and since you're trusting it with your most sensitive information, it's important to pick a trustworthy one.
One that we used to recommend is RoboForms which has been around for years, but technology changes so rapidly we have changed our recommendation now to LastPass.
- It is secure, used by millions of people, and is FREE!
- It will automatically generate a REALLY complicated password for you
- It will remember which website a particular password belongs to. When you next visit that site it will fill in both the username and password for you
- It will "learn" your passwords as you visit your websites and enter your information
- You can store all your important information such as safe combinations, medical and financial information as encrypted "Secure Notes"
- You Can enter your credit card information, shipping and billing addresses and save them as a profile which it will then automatically fill in the correct fields for you when you're internet shopping.
- There's a paid version which runs on your Smartphone and gives you access to your LastPass vault
- You can access your LastPass vault from any computer connected to the internet
When you use LastPass, you only have to enter your master password once to "unlock" your digital safe. Just make sure your master password is a good one. Phrases of random words with substitutions is a good idea, for example Beer*W1ne-Cider!.
Is LastPass Safe?
Here's some of its security features:
- AES 256-bit encryption with routinely-increased PBKDF2 iterations (techno-speak for pretty awesome)
- All sensitive data is encrypted and decrypted locally before syncing with LastPass which means that if someone hacks the LastPass servers, they will only be able to see your heavily encrypted (scrambled) data.