Don’t Ever Write This Down!
Don’t write down plans, don’t use the same password for every account, don’t share your personal information with people who may hack into your accounts, and don’t carry your account numbers with you…
The security people are right – but not realistic. Today I counted how many different accounts I have that require passwords: 52. This includes email, database access, web page access, domain account access, credit accounts, bank account, phone accounts, power accounts and now even my online newspaper wants a login and password – but it is free – forget it. I’m sure your list looks quite similar. I was amazed at the “Operation Tally Password”. Do many of your accounts have the same password – yes or probably variations there of… actually, come to think of it, so does my bike lock! I am doomed. What do I do? I am a busy person and have a good memory – but memorizing all this information requires superhuman abilities – and at least 5 of the accounts require me to change my password every 4 to 6 weeks. That’s real wise – as one password is now “UgottaBkiddinme 32” guess how many times I have changed that password? Actually that is not exactly the password – the actual password is of a more coarse language.
So – what have I done to fix this problem? It is not perfect but is it better and safer than my current system. I am resorting to passphrases – things one has more hope of remembering. It is easier to remember “Samson&Delilah2” than “#[email protected]$”.
On all accounts that ask those same blasted questions that anyone can research and find the ‘secret’ answers to.
Where were you born: Mars
What grade School did you attend: Back of Barn
What is your mother’s Maiden Name: She was never a maid!
What is your pet’s name: ‘Honey’, but don’t tell my spouse!
You get it – answers that are inaccurate for the unknowing hacker and yet still provide you with a chance of remembering when cornered or pressed for time.
One can also put up a secure back page to a web site – that has nothing to do with your work or life. The page should be both encrypted and double password protected – and use a long phrase that you will type wrong at least twice out of every three attempts. By double password protected – the idea is a password is required to see the page where you enter a second passphrase to access the information. The information should be in a picture and not text. Also set up the page to send you a text each time a password for the first page is entered – correct or not.
As a last resort, write all of your password and access codes down in a book. Find a cheap paperback book that you carry and if you lose it – so what? The name written in the book is not yours, nor is the address. The real trick is that all of the access codes and passwords are written in UV ink – so you’ll need a black light to view the information. UV lamps are cheap and readily available.
None of this is perfect – the security of a password followed by a random authentication code sent to your cell phone that you also need to enter for final access. But if you do not have a phone or travel to remote countries with connectivity issues – either can be a problem.