Password security

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Virgin Media


We use passwords every day. We have one for almost everything we do online. So we can almost be forgiven for getting lazy with passwords.

Problem is, passwords represent the keys to your security. And a poor password is less like a bad key, however, and more like a bad lock that any key can fit.

Don’t get lazy with passwords. They are your first and best defence against online attacks.

Keeping the family safe should always be your biggest priority. So make sure you have the right information when making decisions on your family’s internet security.   

Luckily this is all catching on and some companies are getting more on board with creating the right level of public awareness.

Importantly this also includes the providers of the internet themselves. Virgin Media, for example, has started to recommend two levels of parental control. One for the home, called Web Safe, and the other for the outside world, called F-Secure.

Initiatives like Switched on Families means that internet security is finally getting the front and centre attention it needs in today’s tech heavy world.

Now, the perfect password is at that cross-section of convenience and randomness.

Randomness

Here are four password basics to inject more randomness:

  • Length of password is important: longer is better. Always.
  • Never use names. Not your pet’s. Not your granny’s. Not your favourite cereal’s.
  • Non-alphanumeric characters are effective substitutes – use @ for ‘a’, for example.
  • Uniqueness is the key, so stop using ‘123456’ or ‘qwerty’.

Convenience

And here we have four simple solutions to help you make password security more convenient.

  • Try to use a ‘passphrase’. Like, “someone take the trash” (as one word) it is good on length and randomness. Add in some non-sequential numbers and replace some characters with non-alphanumeric characters for a really great password.
  • Keep a physical copy (in a booklet or on a post-it in a certain book on the shelf) of your passwords in the house – never in a virtual WordPad document saved on your desktop!
  • For a more modern memory-free solution, try an online password vault. They really are secure and they really do mean you can forget your passwords. Well, all but ONE primary password: which is the key to your vault of passwords. Three popular ones are: LastPass, Keypass and 1password.
  • Google remembers passwords too. Just make sure your Google account password has two-factor authentication set up (i.e. it uses your phone to confirm who you are when resetting a password).

Password managers do mean you’re putting your eggs in one basket, so careful with that ‘master password’.

One final but important point on personal account passwords. They are your first line of defence, but passwords are useless if your devices are easily accessible: please make sure your PC and mobile phones have a password/pin-code, access to your personal files can be easy otherwise.

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