- Multiple Passwords are Dangerous
- Use a Password Manager
- Get Control, Get Freedom
We’ve all done it; we’ve all used the exact same password multiple times. We know we shouldn’t, but it’s just so easy. It’s just so comfortable sticking with the familiar, however, with so many personal data breaches taking place, my paranoid mind is compelling me to be more proactive about taking security seriously.
Multiple Passwords are Dangerous
Way back when the internet started, managing a couple of passwords wasn’t too bad. You could remember all of them. It was easy. You could even go ahead and create really complicated ones and you would be fine. However as time progressed and more services came online none of the passwords were useful, because you’d always forget them and then need to reset them and then then pain would start. Soon you were using the same password over and over again; and you knew it was wrong. When Third party sign-in like Facebook Login came along you were like “Finally, I never have to deal with passwords again!” But here too you were giving up control for convenience.
Using Third party sign-in is super easy and it saves a you a ton of time, but the major drawback is that you’re continually feeding all your data to massive online organisations. As much as organisations like Google, Twitter and Facebook are useful, they are incredibly big because we gave them a lot of our data to start with; and giving them access to the other services we use isn’t helping the situation.
Use a Password Manager
I’ve known about password managers for a long time, but I was always hesitant to use them because it just seems so bizarre. The idea that there is an application that stores all your password seemed so weird to me. But in actuality it’s not that naive. The thinking behind it is actually quite sound; and coupled with a master passphrase it works beautifully well.
The password manager can generate strong passwords for all your online profiles and services; and then stores them in an encrypted fashion. You can really go nuts with how strong you want to make these passwords. Access to the password manager itself then requires you to remember one very strong secure master password. That’s it. You’ve got to remember to just one really strong secure password.
But even that could scare people, because you don’t want to even try to remember a password like s8%T37pJ9sex92RT13.Qz=52b[3f1M. There’s no way you’re going to remember that, let alone type it in. That’s where passphrases come in. A super useful way to generate complex passwords that are easy to remember.
Take the phrase “Seven Brides for Seven Brothers”; a name of a very famous musical. This could easily be shortened to SBfSB, or alternatively 7Bf7B. That would be a simple example of a passphrase; its easy to remember because it relates to a phrase that you already know. Hence you can create a very intricate, complex, strong passphrase are easy to create that can provide strong security for access to your password manager.
Password managers are available for all your devices so that’s a huge win. My personal favorite is a password manager called Bitwarden which is fully open source.
Get Control, Get Freedom
At first when you begin this process of shifting non essential passwords of services to your password manager you start to realize that this is not as bad as you thought. Thereafter when you start moving across the vast majority of your passwords for services, you start to realize just how much of a footprint you have online. You are exposed to hundreds of services all over the internet, and all of these services are sucking up your data, learning about your habits and doing who knows what with your personal information.
This is the first step to gaining some control over your personal data, and it starts with knowing just how exposed you are.
The very next step is shutting all these services that you’ve never used since 2003, and shutting down the ones you don’t even use today. Get control of your data, and you get control of your Freedom.
I’m really surprised I didn’t try this before because it’s much simpler, easier and safer than I had originally thought. In a world gone mad with data breaches, privacy concerns and alphabet soup agencies snooping around peoples sensitive information, it’s good to know that there are simple tools out there for regular folks to gain some measure of control over their data.
Photo by CMDR Shane on Unsplash
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