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Make a Happy Password

04/06/2017 | Filed under: Thoughts on IT | Permalink

Recently I had to sign up for yet another account online, something most of us do dozens of times a year. I was shown the below animation as I chose my password and thought the feedback was excellent from a user standpoint. You want your password to be good, because you want to be happy! You, (or at least I) am happy when my information is secure and I don’t have to worry about something happening to my account and someone accessing my private and valuable information.

So how do you make “Happy” passwords? Simple. Follow these suggestions.

  1. Stop using the same password everywhere!
    This is by far the most important and often the most ignored. Use a product like LastPass to save passwords to make this process easy by letting it hold all your passwords in it’s (very secure) database. Use the free extension to auto-fill them in as soon as you go to a login page.
  2. Use complex passwords.
    This means use letters (upper and lower), numbers and symbols in your passwords. This makes brute-force password guessing much harder.
  3. Avoid easily guessable passwords.
    Most hacking is actually social engineering and basic information gathering. For little-to-no money, hackers can usually find out things like your full name, your Date of Birth, where you were born. They can find out your favorite TV and movies from things like Facebook profiles. Try and make the password something non-intuitive. You can always reset your password if you forget it. You’ll have a much harder time if they sneak in without you knowing.
  4. Turn on “two factor authentication”.
    Most big services and websites now have two factor authentication. A combination of something you know, like a password, and something you have, like a cellphone number. Google for instance will text you every time you login for the first time on a new device and provides a one-use code to enter the first time. Check it out here.

So there you have it. Easy to use and setup but a little more complicated for the “bad guys” out there, Remember folks, a happy password is really just a happy person!

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