Even if you think you've got pretty good passwords, they probably don't live up to the standards of cyber-security experts. Here's what the FBI suggests when it comes to our passwords and accounts. Get this:
A mixture of upper and lowercase letters, numbers, and special symbols
No dictionary words
Separate passwords for each mission critical accounts such as email, Facebook, bank and credit cards.
That's completely do-able, UNLESS you need to remember them all. If that isn't mission impossible I don't know what is.
FBI Special Agent Scott Augenbaum, my go-to cyber-security/password expert has a perfect do-able solution. It's genius really.
"I'm going to come down with what I like to call your secret code," he says. "You're going to use this in all of your passwords."
Augenbaum writes out "#7hm" "This is going to be part of my password," he says.
He then puts that secret code at the end of his soon-to-be-created password, only in reverse.
"I need to come up with a passphrase of something that will remind me of the account." This is the important part in order to remember which password is which, since we're not supposed to use them same one for more than one account.
Agent Augenbaum says this would make a good passphrase for an Amazon account: "I hate to shop at Amazon very very much," he says. "I'm never going to forget that passphrase."
Never mind whether that's how he feels about Amazon, just go with him here.
He begins writing out the first letter of each word, only he uses the number 1 for I and @ for at. So this password would be:
He does the same with other critical accounts such as Gmail. Always using the secret code at the front and end of each passphrase.
"When you go to your keypad you will be able to find those keys, just like that and there's no way in the world the bad guys could ever get in," he said.
There you have it. Augenbaum told me since that rock-solid password is almost hacker-proof you won't have to change it as often as you should with a weaker password and when we do change the password we only need to change the secret code that we'll use with every password.
He also suggests we do what we've always been told not to do: write the passwords down and keep them somewhere safe like in a book on our bookshelf. It's only a matter of time until you remember each and every difficult to hack password.