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Secure Passwords (Pt. 5)

(From Troy Hunt’s Blog) View Part 1, Part 2, Part 3 or Part 4 of this series.

Getting secure

Of course the chances are your passwords aren’t real secure to begin with and all this process is doing is keeping a secure record of bad passwords. This is a great time to do some housekeeping and 1Password makes it very easy.

When I went through and added all my accounts, each time I came across one with a weak password I went into the 1Password application, opened up the account I just created and generated a new one. There’s a really neat little tool built right in which makes this a breeze:

network-security-computer-password-secure-generate-strong-password

This is what a secure password looks like (highlighted in blue above). If it’s not something you need to be a savant to memorize, it’s not secure enough. But of course with the process described above it doesn’t matter that the password is entirely unintelligible, all you need to remember is your master password.

Now, this process won’t actually change your password on the website, only the one you have recorded in 1Password. You’ll need to copy this one into your clipboard then go onto the individual website and change it accordingly. Yes, it’s a bit of mucking around but for the sake of a few minutes you’ve just created a very secure, very unique password which can’t be used against you on any of your other online accounts.

There’s one gotcha in all of this; some websites don’t let you create secure passwords. Earlier this year I wrote about the Who’s who of bad password practices – banks, airlines and more where I found that some websites – especially banks, oddly enough – simply won’t let you construct long, random passwords. Either they limit the length to a very low number, they disallow many character types or in extreme examples, they insist on a short PIN containing only numbers. Unfortunately you’re entirely at the mercy of the controls these sites place on passwords so when you hit a limitation like this all you can do is maximize what you can within a ridiculous constraint.

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