Passwords are in most systems, the only barrier needed to be circumvented to gain unauthorized access; and sadly this happens too often. Mostly because people use bad passwords. I am sure that you are not part of the group of people who use ’123456′ as their favorite password; but keep on reading for some quick tips on how to increase your security. I will not list a lot of programs here – only the ones I find interesting and are FREE.
Pitfalls and how to avoid them
It is all too easy to use the same password, that we happen to have grown so fond of, again and again. Beside from having a weak password this is the most common pitfall for almost anyone – me including! Here is a list with what you should know and always practice.
- Use password generators
- Use at least lower-case letters (a-z), UPPER-CASE letters(A-Z) and numbers (0-9).
- Use at least a password of 12 characters in length.
- Use one password per system/service!
- Store passwords in a password manager.
- Install browser plugins that are password managers and/or password generators, which will help you become more secure.
- AVOID public computers as much you can! They are a security risk, and you might like to read PC Security – Tips for Safe Public Computer Use, 5 safety tips for using a public computer or Keep your passwords safe at public computers.
Online Password Generators
Storage: Save all of your passwords in one safe/secure location
Personally I use KeePass(Windows) and KeePassX(Mac), because it is open source, cross-platform and free! However if you like to know about other software you might like reading Five Best Password Managers.
Alternative ways of storing passwords and other private info
Use any Digital file, such as a picture that is easy to remember as your password generator
I would recommend people to use LastPass Password Manager as it is cross-platform and free(basic version)!
Chrome comes with a built-in Password Manager, but without password generator. Therefore I recommend people to use a plugin such as Ngenerator for creating stronger passwords.
…And have you ever wanted or needed to know which data are stored with your Chrome Password Manager? Here is a quick tip:
- Download SQLite Database Browser
- Windows users: In case you get this error please search for download msvcr71 filetype:dll, download the DLL-file, scan it for virus/malware and put it in the same folder as where SQLite Database Browser is located.
- Navigate to: %userprofile%\AppData\Local\Google\Chrome\User Data\Default (Windows Vista/7) or %userprofile%\Local Settings\Application Data\Google\Chrome\User Data\Default (Windows XP)
- Copy the file called Login Data to anywhere but in the same directory (we don’t wanna edit the original file that Google Chrome is using!)
- Open Login Data (sqlite db file) with SQLite Database Browser, click on “Browse Data”-tab and voila! You now can see the data which Google Chrome has saved for you.
- You could also just use this program for Windows called ChromePass by NirSoft.net, but that wouldn’t be as fun and isn’t cross-platform
Firefox also comes with a built-in Password Manager; BUT remember to always set/use a Master Password! If you don’t do this; someone with physical access to your computer can easily see and export all of your passwords which you have stored/saved!
Before your email accounts get compromised
This might come handy when you need it, so bookmark any of these links. ( I will build the list with other services for anyone to use as a quick overview to where to reset their passwords).