Protect your identity and protect your money

Passwords

by Don Ireland


Related Articles

Protecting Yourself Against Identity Theft

Update Your Arsenal Against Identity Theft

Children and Identity Theft

Protecting your identity is a big part of protecting your money. The following should help you to do just that.

Passwords

The problem with passwords is that they need to be something that you can remember. But too often, people use something like their birth date, their mother's name or something simple. It's relatively simple for most any computer programmer to create a program that will try nearly every imaginable password. However, if you use a random string of numbers and letters, good luck remembering it!

Instead of using "passwords," create a "passcode," which would be a sentence that you can remember and then "do something" to that sentence to make a shorter string. For example:

I went to Thomas Jefferson Middle School.
Iw2TJMS

I love my three children.
Iluvm3c

My 2 children love soccer.
M2cls

Jennifer was my first girlfriend.
Jwm1stgf

Password Management

Some websites are more secure than other websites. If you use the same passwords (passcode) at every site you visit (or even a variation of the same one) and if a less secure site is compromised, you're potentially exposed even on the more secure sites. Try taking your "standard password" and making a variation based on what site you're at. For example, for banking sites, add two characters representing the bank's name in the second position of your password. Let's assume your "standard password" is Jwm1stgf and you're at the Bank of America site. Your password would be JBAwm1stgf. For computer general web forums, you might put the special characters in the third place. Therefore, using the same "standard password," if you're at the phpfreaks.com website, your password might become JwPFm1stgf. I'm sure you get the idea.

Forgotten Passwords

Most password protected websites these days have a mechanism to retrieve/reset your password if you've forgotten what your password is. Many of those use a question and answer system via which you answer a question ahead of time. When you use this mechanism, you have to provide the same answer to this question that you gave previously.

Some of those allow you the option to create your own question and answer combination yourself. These are my favorite because all too often, the questions they provide aren't very secure (such as "What is your mother's name" or "Where were you born"). One site I use has six questions available and none of them are really valid for me, so I basically had to make up an answer. If I forget what answer I gave and remember the password, I won't be able to get in.

If they permit you to create your own Q&A combination, choose something that will be extremely difficult to guess, and if you can do so and remember the answer, misspell a word or substitute a number in place of a letter. Some samples are below.

My first boyfriend's name was....
Dave

My first girlfriend's name was.....
Jacquie

My best friend's eldest daughter's first name is....
Heather

My first car was a....
1977camaro


This article is also available at www.donireland.com/articles/passwordsecurity.html

Share your thoughts about this article with the editor: Click Here

Stay Connected with TDS





Subscribe to TDS Newsletters

Join over 250,000 other subscribers!

Join Fido!

Discounted movie tickets
Sign up for Savvy Savings at TDS and get a free membership for discounted movie tickets!

Your Email:


The Dollar Stretcher
Dollar Stretcher Parents
Dollar Stretcher Tips
Surviving Tough Times
Financial Independence
The Computer Lady
Computer Lady Lessons
Healthy Foods

Your Email:


View the TDS Privacy Policy.