To maintain security it is highly recommended to use a different password for EVERY account that you login to. The reason for this recommendation is that large companies are breached on a pretty regular basis. The attackers are after usernames and passwords, which they can then use to try and access other, unrelated accounts.
For example, you have a MyFitnessPal account. The username and password to your MyFitnessPal account was leaked in a security breach. However, you ALSO use that same password to access your email, or your banking. Now that the attackers have a password you like to use, they can try it with your email address on several other websites. If you are using a different password for each site, you will have nothing to worry about. You would just need to change your MyFitnessPal password and you are good to go.
Many people don’t actually use a different password for all of their online accounts because it is a huge pain to remember all of those various passwords! You can manage them pretty easily through a couple different methods. First, you can use a password manager like LastPass, 1Password, or Dashlane. The second method is called “haystacking”
If you have attended any of our live webinars, or our live event that took place prior to the pandemic, you have already heard me talk about haystacking and how to create a secure password that is easy to remember. Haystacking involves using a password you know, or can easily use, and then combining it with information about the account. Once I explain how to create one, it will be easier to understand.
Step 1 – Come up with a standard password.
Most of us already have some standard passwords we regularly use. They are easy for us to remember, and allows us to quickly access our accounts. However, length is strength, so if your current standard password is less than 8 characters, maybe change it up or add another word to it. The best passwords are a few unrelated words put together like DoorBlanketBox. It doesn’t necessarily need to be complex, but you can add complexity if you want.
Step 2 – Use the service name
Every person’s individual formula should be unique. It should also not be easy to figure out from one of your other passwords. A typical formula looks something like this. If I am creating a password for amazon, I could use the first 3 letters of Amazon, “ama” and then the rest of the word “zon” and place it around my standard password. So it would look like AmaDoorBlanketBoxZon. If someone looks at this password they could see the word Amazon in there, so maybe pick a number of characters from the service name you want to use. You could use only the last 4 characters of the name, or a nickname you use for the service.
Step 3 – Use a number formula
In our example above we used 3 characters from the first part of the word Amazon, and then 3 characters from the end of the name. If the service is Hulu, maybe you used 2 characters at the beginning and 2 at the end. Once you know this number, pick a multiplier that only you know. So if you use 3 characters, and multiply by 3 you would have the number 9. Using 2 characters would give you a 6. So now you add these numbers to your password so you have Ama9DoorBlanketBox9Zon or Hu6DoorBlanketBox6Lu. The point is to make them different enough so if someone has your amazon password, they wouldn’t be able to guess your Hulu password because they wouldn’t know the multipliers you utilized.
Now, don’t use our method exactly, come up with your own haystacking formula so you can have secure passwords for all of your online services and accounts. While you are at it, and changing your passwords across the web, make sure to enable 2-Factor Authentication for an added layer of protection from unwanted access to your accounts!