According to recent research, the average number of accounts registered to one UK email address is a staggering 118. We each forget around 37 passwords a year, according to the number of forgot password emails the researchers at online security solutions company Dashlane found when rummaging around in the inboxes of over 20,000 participants. More worrying, the typical UK internet user reuses their favourite password around 6 times, which represents quite a serious security problem.
The main problem is that convenience is king when registering for new online accounts. If you're accessing something on the move or want to get on with it quickly, it's only natural to choose the easy option and reuse a favourite password. We know this isn'tt the safest way to do it, but it's so difficult to keep track of all of those different passwords. It can be a real headache trying to log in to sites and services, as well as having to reset your password all the time, so it may be time to find a better solution. Here are just 3 options to try they could make your life a lot easier and your online accounts much more secure:
- Use a password manager. This is by far the easiest solution to manage all of those passwords. Password managers such as 1Password, KeePass and indeed Dashlane all lock your passwords away in an encrypted, secure place, whilst also having extra features such as logging into sites for you, giving you options to sync or keep passwords local only, and reminding you when you are using the same password in too many places. All you'll need to remember is your master password to access the manager, and it's crucial to make this as impenetrable as possible.
- Consider a hard copy approach. Some may disagree, but a number of internet security experts have recommended actually writing down your passwords on a piece of paper. This is something we've all been told not to do, but it's worth considering that a piece of paper is effectively unhackable unless someone actually breaks into your home and finds it (which is, of course, a possibility). If you can keep the paper somewhere secure and not end up losing it yourself, this approach could work for you.
- Use a password recovery device. If all else fails and you can't reset your password, you can use a portable USB password recovery device to regain access to essential files on your computer or login into an important account.
Tips for stronger passwords
Another way to boost the security of your online accounts is to come up with a stronger password for each in the first place. Top tips include:
- Being creative - merging two different song lyrics together, using your friend's favourite weird saying or even making up new words and sentences
- Taking a phrase and abbreviating it - for example, I went to Disney World Florida in 2005 can be abbreviated to IwtDWFi05, which is much more secure than your surname and birth year.
- Changing your password regularly - set a schedule and stick to it.
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