The Wild West Age of Passwords
We will admit that it is a bit of a clickbait title.
Since the beginning of the Internet and mass usage of online services, people have been using passwords to gain access to various services. Whether it is logging into your local computer, checking your Facebook feed, or accessing online banking, passwords have become and everyday annoyance for most of us.
To hackers though passwords are gold. Getting access to your credentials often leads to all the terrifying things we worry about around identity theft, ransomware, and all things cybersecurity.
We’ve talked in the past about using multiple forms of authentication for your online services, and this is still the absolute best way to mitigate your risk. Despite how many times we’ve talked about it, many people continue to use simple passwords, often using the same password for countless services. The risk here is that if a nefarious actor gains access to one password, they gain access to countless services.
So other than using 2FA for all your online services, what can you do?
Start Using a Template
If you’re anything like us the main annoyance from using online services is forgetting your password. The solution to this that most of us employ is to just simply use the same password for everything and keep it fairly simple so that we can remember it. Most of us have gotten away from using “password”, but we aren’t too far off those days. We know that we should be using a complex password consisting of uppercase characters, lowercase characters, numbers, and special characters, but we just can’t be bothered.
Let us Propose a solution. What if instead of using a password, you used a password template. Simply remember the template and depending on the service you’re logging into; you will know the password but it will be something that is unique to that service.
Here’s an example:
The base for my template is going to be:
Why that? Simple. We generated it at https://www.random.org/passwords/
Now, depending on what we’re logging into, we’re going to add a character or two at the front and back of the password template, so to log into Facebook, the password becomes:
Now we have a ten-character unique password, that has nothing to do with your kid’s birthdays. It may take you a few minutes to remember the template, but once you have it, you’ll not forget it. You can even write the template down if you want, because it doesn’t even give away your credentials if someone finds it. Nifty huh?
Of course, our example template isn’t the only one out there. If you have another idea, use it. You’ll stop having to remember the password, and you’ll only have to remember the idea.
Go forth and get secure!