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Raise your hand if you’re using the same password for every account because remembering them all would be impossible. Everyone is guilty of the multiple password sin but when doing so you’re leaving yourself wide open to a major security breach. Imagine your password was hacked from a random app you downloaded and since forgotten about and that password is the same you use for your online banking? Scary right?  Today I’m sharing my 7 essential steps to reaching password perfection.

1. Use a Password Manager

A good password manager like 1Password or LastPass creates strong, unique passwords for all of your accounts. The best ones sync across desktop and mobile and can autocomplete. Instead of remembering multiple passwords you only have to remember one master password. Now let’s make that one password the best password ever. Read on.

2. Length Matters

Stop thinking of your password as a word and start thinking of it as a phrase – a Pass Phrase. Forget trying to create killer combinations of letters, numbers, and characters and instead think of one really good phrase. Once you get into the 12-15 character range, it becomes way harder for hackers to get your password.  For example “fuzzy pickled footballs” is way better than “g0be@r$.”

3. Space Out

If you opt against a password manager I suggested above – nearly every password field will force you to use numbers or special characters. When creating your password try not to bunch them all together at the beginning or ending. Something like “password1” or “2018password” will be cracked much sooner than “Wearing 39 H@ts.”

4. Change isn't Always Good

The less often you change your pass phrase, the less likely you are to forget it. When you’re rotating passwords often you fall into bad habits like just changing the number at the end, or capitalizing a different letter. You’re not fooling anyone here.

5. Don't Reuse, Recycle, or Repeat

Being green is a good thing but not when it comes to passwords. If you’re using the password manager I suggested above then you’re already generating different pass phrases every time. If not, please don’t reuse passwords across different accounts. Once it’s hacked you’ve given them access to everything. See for yourself if you have any accounts where data has been breached: Have I Been Pwned

6. Don't Trust Your Browser

A convenient shortcut is letting your browser remember all your pass phrases for you. You’ve probably seen this option and may have already used it on a site or two. Don’t!  The option is convenient but the security is often undocumented. If you need a free password manager use Dashlane instead of trusting everything to Chrome.

7. Add Two-Factor

Unfortunately these days a pass phrase isn’t always strong enough. Many of the services we use today offer an added layer of protection: Two-Factor Authentication. Sites like Facebook, Banks, Google, Roblox, etc. all offer the two-step login option. Look for it in your account settings, once activated you’ll receive a code sent to your phone via SMS whenever you login.  Tedious maybe? But you can never been to cautious.
And there you have it!  Follow these essential guidelines and generate new pass phrases for all of your accounts today. Or take a few minutes to setup a password manager and think up only one fantastic pass phrase instead.

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