Do you know how many passwords you have for all the sites and systems you use? A study conducted by Microsoft in 2007 found that people had approximately six passwords to remember on average. Today, that number has increased to 70-80 passwords on average, an over 1000% increase in the number of passwords to manage. Another study found that most people have a cognitive ability to remember four to five passwords effectively, which is why most people use the same password for multiple sites. However, that is not the safest course of action as it can lead to accounts that can be easily hacked. So how do you manage all those passwords and how can you keep them safe?
A hard copy notebook offers nondigital storage safety. Just be sure to keep it out of the way, preferably locked in a safe. “I find a hard copy notebook useful if two people at home are accessing the same computer or accounts,” advised Robert Wilbanks, Vice President of Information Technology for LifeSpire of Virginia.
Locked files on a computer or mobile device can work, but it also carries risk of exposure to hacking. A password management system is the easiest and safest solution. These are typically available as a dedicated app for desktop or laptop computers and require a subscription fee. Examples of popular password management apps include: 1Password and Dashlane.
Password safety tips:
- Never give out your password to online accounts to anyone
- Passphrases are a good way to remember passwords, such as, “I’msmarterthantheaveragebear!”
- Use a different password for each website, app, email or anything that requires you to provide a username and password
- Use multi-factor authentication whenever available
- This method delivers a one-time use code to another device. Once the code is received, enter that code into the first device to complete authentication.
- Check to see if your information has already been exposed
- Visit https://haveibeenpwned.com/
- Select the passwords tab and type your password in to see if it has shown up in any data breaches. If your password has been subjected to a data breach, change it right away.