I made just one New Year Resolution, though I accompanied it with a long list of my 2011 priorities and the vow to get through them all:
Change all my passwords. Twice. And make them secure.
They say that you should change your passwords every six months. Changing my passwords always feels like such a drag. You took the time to learn the first one, and now you have to go and learn a new one all over again? And with the ridiculous number of accounts that you can have all over the internet–such a drag!!
But we cannot deny it’s importance. Changing your password not only protects your identity, but it has to be said, your dignity too. Who doesn’t find it the least bit embarrassing when some hacker gets access to your gmail or Facebook and sends crap to every one of your contacts, professional or not?
Awhile ago I switched to secure passwords for my banking needs and gmail. The rest of them, though…a dictionary word. Exactly what all the experts tell you NOT to do.
I am going to use the following trick so that I can use a dictionary word (easy to remember!) AND have a secure password:
Let’s say your dictionary word that you want to use is “luscious.” Spell that with numbers instead of letters where it makes sense to you. ‘S’ looks to me like a’5′, ‘L’ like a ‘1’, and ‘O’ like a ‘O’.
‘luscious’ then becomes ‘1u5ci0u5’. Add an ‘!’ or other punctuation mark at the end and you’re golden.
But wait. There’s more! To be fully secure, you should have a different password for every site. I know, it’s a headache. But it doesn’t have to be! To keep them easy to use, add in the initials of the website it’s for at the beginning or the end.
For Facebook: ‘FB1u5ci0u5!’
For Gmail: ‘GMAI11u5ci0u5!’
Remember to use numbers where appropriate in the site name too. Use caps for the site part of the password and lowercase for the others for maximum security.
My plan is to change each password whenever I visit a website until I’ve gotten through them all. And do it again starting June 1st. Who’s with me?