Every day we use diverse passwords to log in to numerous platforms and services. In this article, you’ll find useful tips on how to safely store your passwords and prevent them from being stolen by hackers.
How many passwords do you use daily? Email, Instagram, a payment app, Skype and may be a lot more. Most likely, the autocomplete option saves you from memorizing them all. However, this doesn’t mean that it’s difficult to guess or brute-force your password. In this article, you’ll find useful tips on how to store your passwords safely and efficiently protect yourself from hacking attacks.
#1. Avoid Common Mistakes
A common mistake is to insert the same password for all apps, sites, systems, and services. If hackers get hold of this universal password, they will control a considerable part of your life. Please don’t be lazy and create unique passwords for each project you join.
Another popular slip is to set a password that is easy to guess. Such passwords normally include the private data of the user: pet’s name, name of the favorite band, etc.
When a hacker tries to guess your password and introduces different variants to the system, one by one, this is called “brute-forcing”. It is tedious and time-consuming, but it might work in the end. A more advanced approach suggests using an automated algorithm to guess your password. The shorter and simpler it is, the less time it will take to hack your account.
Instead of inventing the passwords yourself, you should install an app that generates passwords automatically. You can choose among dozens of solutions available on the market that generate lengthy random combinations of letters and numbers. Even for an artificial intelligence it would be difficult to hack such a combination, let alone the human brain. As a consequence, a big problem arises: how should we store multiple complicated passwords?
Write them down
You can manually put down all your passwords in a paper notebook and keep it close to your computer. This approach has two drawbacks:
- The passwords you put down by hand will most likely be short and simple.
- When you accumulate too many of them, it will be tricky to navigate through the pages.
Instead of a paper notebook, you may use Notepad, Microsoft Word, or another similar program, and save your password database in the center of your desktop.
However, writing passwords in Google Docs or Google Sheets is wiser, because:
- You can access your database from any device and location.
- It’s easy to arrange your passwords in alphabetical order or search them by using the “Ctrl + F” combination.
However, this is not an efficient and technologically advanced solution, so you should probably consider other options as well.
#2. Use Social Networks Log-ins
Once you create an account on Google, Facebook, or Twitter, you can use it to enter diverse platforms: dating apps, payment apps, the projects that you need for work, etc. Many projects allow customers to link their accounts with their socnet accounts without filling in the traditional registration form. They normally let newcomers know that they won’t post or share anything on their socnets. If you don’t see such a notification right away, go to the settings of the platform and set it manually.
This a widespread and reliable solution. However, it has a major drawback that we mentioned earlier: if a hacker gets hold of your Google or Facebook account, you are in serious trouble.
#3. Type Random Nonsense Combinations
Discard the Google log-in and opt for oldschool manual registration each time you sign up for a new project. Instead of a proper password, insert something like “gcyyt7u4yt353674j” and don’t write it down. Next time you try to log in to this platform, resort to the Restore Password option. You’ll receive a link to your email that you will use to access your account and to create a new password — that is, a new string of nonsense.
This is extremely inconvenient. Also, for this purpose, you should use not your Google mail but a backup one.
#4. Install Password Generating Software
LastPass, Dashlane, 1Password can serve as examples of popular and trustworthy brands. They slightly differ in their design and functionality, so you can choose the one that fits best your tastes, habits, and budget. No matter which device and operating system you use, there will be plenty of options compatible with it — be it a stationary computer, a laptop, a tablet, or a smartphone.
Also, you can consider installing software that was not specifically built for creating and saving passwords but features this function. This can be, for example, MacKeeper — a versatile program that includes an antivirus, empties free space on the hard disk, and offers other useful functions. To get detailed information about it, you can read review here.
#5. Two-phase Authentication
This is not quite a method of storing passwords, but a helpful security tool. For some projects, it’s optional, others use is a mandatory solution.
To enter the system, it’s not enough to introduce the password. An OTP (one time password) will be sent to your phone or email, and you’ll need to introduce it as well. It’s impossible to guess or brute-force the OTP because it’s randomly generated from scratch each time, and you have limited time or a limited number of attempts to insert it.
You should use two-phase authentication whenever possible. However, it has a major drawback. For example, you receive OTPs on your smartphone. If your laptop gets stolen and someone tries to access your desktop payment app, they will fail because they won’t see the OTP. But in case you receive the OTP to your mail, the thief might receive and use it.
This means that all of your devices should be protected by passwords as well. If they are not, this approach would be useless and vulnerable. Here’s a short video explaining about 2FA in detail.
Now you know how to safely store your passwords. Even if you are not a geek, you can efficiently protect your personal data from hackers and make sure that no one steals your funds, documents, or identity. It’s enough to invest some time and effort in installing the necessary software just once, and you’ll have no reason to worry for months or years ahead.