Online Password Safety Tips

Part of teaching our kids to be safe online is teaching them about using secure passwords, changing passwords frequently, and the safe storage of passwords. As our children grow up and begin using social networking sites like Facebook, we should be molding in them some safe habits so that when they set up online banking accounts or purchase goods online, they’ll be sure to practice the same safety measures to protect their identities.

Here are a few tips for creating secure passwords:

Choose a phrase you’ll remember. Use the first letter of each word in the phrase, the last word in the site’s URL, and then a character and a set of numbers. Keep the phrase, character, and numbers the same for every password you create so you’ll always remember them.

Example:

  • Site: Facebook
  • Phrase: Chocolate Icecream Rocks
  • Character and Number: @84 (the year I was born)

Password: CIRfacebook@84

What you’ve ended up with is an alphanumeric password with both upper and lowercase letters and a special character. This is considered a very strong password. Many sites require all of these be present when you create a password, so it’s great if you’ve already established this habit and you’re not having to come up with a new password that you may not remember, just because you’ve landed on a site with these requirements. Another thing to note is most sites require an 8 (sometimes 12) character minimum for passwords.

Now, you may want to come up with a more complex phrase, or something other than your birth year, but make sure it’s something you’ll never forget.

Changing Passwords Frequently

Most people suggest you change your passwords on a regular basis. Maybe even every 30 days. Personally, I have about 200 passwords and changing them all monthly, or even every 6 months could be a full time job. But, if you wish to do this, try changing the phrase. Maybe the phrase you choose could have a month name in it, (Chocolate Icecream Rocks in January) or some other easy to remember thing you could change?

Secure Password Storage

So, what do you do when you have more than a few passwords? Well, if you’ve used the above method for creating a password, you shouldn’t have too much trouble remembering them. But, perhaps you didn’t, or like me, you have client passwords to remember. If you find yourself needing to store passwords DO NOT write them down in a notebook, store in an unsecure document, or have your web browser remember them for you. Sign up for a service like Roboform or Keypass. These tools allow you to save all of your logins safely. You can set a masterkey so that they can’t be opened without the password. They can also be mobile. I store mine on a flash drive so I can use it on any computer. Not only will they store passwords, but you can keep secure notes, set them up for form-filling, and so much more!

Why is all this important?

Identity theft is on the rise, specifically Child Identity Theft. It’s important, now more than ever, to teach our children to be safe online. Explain to them the dangers of online predators and ID theft. Teach them to keep their information secure.

If you are concerned about your child’s identity, enroll in a program like Identity Guard’s kIDsure program where you can monitor your child’s name and information and how it’s being used. You’ll get alerts of suspicious activity emailed to you. You can also download free ebooks with helpful information on Identity Theft and how to prevent it!

 

This service was provided to me for review at no charge. In addition I received monetary compensation. All opinions are my own.

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Comments

  1. Rajean says

    I’ve been meaning to use something like keypass for a while now. Thanks for the reminder. I’ll share.

    • Erica says

      I really like Roboform. As mentioned, I use the To-Go version on a jumpdrive so I can take it anywhere with me, and I use a masterkey to keep my sensitive IDs and passwords secure.
      I would stay away from having your browser remember the info because I never feel that’s secure. Plus, if you change a password it’s often difficult to get the browser to stop trying to use the old one… (Very annoying)

  2. Nikki says

    Oh I’m so ADD, I’m afraid that I’d forget the password – even with the handy way you’ve set up creating one. However, I am due to update them all because I’m having a hard time keeping a couple straight.

    I had actually never thought of child ID theft. The kids are all (I hope) pretty safe when they’re online and they don’t get online all that often (one overly plugged in person in this house is enough) but it probably wouldn’t hurt me to make sure that their ID is safe too.

    • Erica says

      Yes! It is crazy how many we actually use. I think my Roboform has stored something like 150 passwords, and those aren’t even the ones I use the above method for!

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