It’s time to log into your online bank, or alternate email, or one of the many hundreds of accounts we all have. What was your password again? Your mother’s maiden name and your birthday? Your first pet and your graduation year? Maybe you try to make it easy and use the same password for everything or perhaps you have a notepad you scribble random assortments of letters, numbers and symbols into. Whatever situation you find yourself in, managing our passwords is a necessity. They keep some of our most precious information safe, but how can we ensure their security? Let’s take a look at a few ways we can cut the clutter and organize passwords in a safe fashion.

Face it, memorizing even a dozen unique passwords is difficult, if not impossible. This is especially true if you’ve taken the time to create a variety of strong passwords for each account. Unfortunately, this leads many people to use simple, easy to remember passwords or even use one password for multiple accounts. As you can probably guess, hackers and thieves love that.  By using a third party password manager, we can easily keep track of unique, powerful passwords and rest easy knowing that they won’t fall into the wrong hands.

There are quite a few password managers out there, but today we’ll look at our favorite here at Pretect: LastPass. The name says it all; with this browser plug in, you’ll only ever have to keep track of one master password. LastPass saves and secures your passwords with AES (Advanced Encryption Standard) 256 bit encryption, which was rated strong enough to protect Top Secret level government files! Add to that Multi-Factor Authentication protection (such as a mobile or USB authenticator) and you suddenly have a password as impregnable as nuclear launch codes. The free version grants you unparalleled organization and security as a browser extension or as a mobile app. You can even authorize other LastPass users to have temporary access to your accounts without ever giving them the actual password. The premium version, which runs about $12 a year, grants you both mobile and browser support and allows for more advanced MFA protection. Get started with a free month of LastPass Premium.

FREE Month of LastPass Premium

So now you have the tools you need to shield and keep track of your passwords. What’s next? Chances are you have a little work to do in order to bolster and reinforce your existing passwords. Now that you don’t have to remember anything, take a look at these steps to creating a intelligent and impervious password.

  • Use as many characters as possible (12 to 14 minimum).
  • Include lowercase and uppercase letters, numbers and symbols if possible.
  • Use a random password generator if possible (LastPass offers such a tool).
  • Don’t use the same password for multiple accounts!
  • Avoid character repetition, keyboard patterns, dictionary words, letter or number sequences, usernames, relative or pet names, romantic links (current or past) and biographical information (e.g., ID numbers, ancestors’ names or dates).

You might also consider using a passphrase to protect your account. Simply put, a passphrase is a sequence of random words, numbers and symbols that might only make sense to you. This creates a much longer sort of password and is usually easier to remember.

Hopefully after reading this, you were able to breathe a sigh of relief. We put a lot of faith in a password’s ability to safeguard information, so it is equally important that we put a lot of time into those passwords. With these tips and tools at your disposal, you can rest easy knowing that you don’t have to sacrifice security for convenience.

As always, if you have any further questions about this blog or any IT related inquiries, feel free to get in touch with us! Stay safe and remember: always Pretect yourself.