Password Tips or How to make sure you don’t get PWND!

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What is exactly is PWND? It essentially means “owned”, as in someone “owns” you. It started in chat rooms among gamers but has grown to mean being dominated/compromised on the internet. Here is the Urban Dictionary definition: http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=pwnd

So what does this have to do with me? Well I just spent the past 3 hours changing passwords on a few DOZEN websites after finding out that MY info was compromised from the Adobe hack a while back. That was one of the largest data breaches ever and a great many users have had their personal info swiped, to possibly be used in a variety of illegal ways. At the very least, the user ID/Password combo may be enough to grant them entry into a variety of other sites that could possibly create major stolen identity issues for you; especially if you used that same combo for banking or other financial websites. As a general rule, you should ALWAYS use a UNIQUE password for EACH financial website you use and NEVER use that same password ANYWHERE else!If you want to find out if YOU have been part of a data breach just enter your email here: https://haveibeenpwned.com/

So while I am on the topic of passwords, how strong are yours? And do you know how to create virtually impenetrable passwords that are also easy to remember? Well let me give you a couple of PASSWORD TIPS


TIP#1 – create a strong password by using the first characters of each word of a phrase you can easily remember that also includes a date and add a special character or two, capitalizing proper names and such. Here is an example:
” I got married in San Francisco on April 23rd 1987 “
becomes: IgmiSFo04231987!

I dare say that one will NEVER get figured out!


Tip #2 – keep all of your data in a spreadsheet with columns for website/purpose, User ID, Password, Security Question answers and finally Notes (to add special instructions). Then encrypt or password protect that spreadsheet file. You can even make a PDF file to keep handy but DON’T name it “passwords”, give it a boring title like “The Mating Habits of Australian Parakeets” or something…


Tip 3: Use an app like https://www.dashlane.com to store password and login info. It keeps the info local and encrypted, and you need a master password to access the app.

I hope this will help you manage your passwords more effectively and hopefully we won’t experience another data breach of this magnitude any time soon.

 

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