Do you find juggling Web site usernames and passwords frustrating? We sure do, thanks to having hundreds of accounts, accumulated over many years. During that time, the recommendations for secure passwords have changed significantly and both the likelihood of problems and the liability of having accounts compromised have increased radically. It’s maddening, and, honestly, kind of scary, especially given the seemingly non-stop password thefts from large companies and the importance of online banking. Let us be clear:
It is unsafe to use simple passwords, to reuse the same password on multiple sites, or to rely on tricks like character substitutions or keyboard patterns. If you do these things, you are at risk for having your online accounts broken into.
In Joe Kissell’s just-released Take Control of Your Passwords, Second Edition, you can find real-world advice on creating a highly secure password management strategy that will protect you from bad guys of all stripes. Joe explains what makes for a strong password and helps you start using a password manager (along with his favorite, 1Password, he looks at a dozen choices), work with oddball security questions like “what is your pet’s favorite movie?”, and make sure that your passwords are always available when needed. The 149-page book also looks at how to audit your passwords to ensure you can’t be compromised by old, insecure passwords, use two-step verification and two-factor authentication, and deal with situations where a password manager can’t help.
If you’re not already using 1Password, take a look at his just-updated Take Control of 1Password, Second Edition, too. In the 174-page book, Joe explains how 1Password can generate impregnable passwords like C7dQ4.d$F4Aj/+GLx (Gesundheit!), store them alongside usernames and other login information, and enter it all on Web sites for you with just a few clicks. Joe also covers how to store your credit card and personal information in 1Password securely so you can fill Web forms with ease.
Plus, for those who want to share important passwords within a family or workgroup, the book covers 1Password for Teams and AgileBits’ new 1Password Families, a $5-per-month password-sharing service that also provides all the 1Password apps for free for up to five family members as well as secure shared storage space. 1Password Families is great for sharing things like a Netflix password, providing access to important passwords in the event of an accident, and ensuring that kids use strong passwords.