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Keep your passwords strong and secure

Here are some tips on how to make good passwords, and that means secure ones, and how to ensure that they are never lost and always close to hand.

So many times when I visit to coach my clients, it takes ages to find the correct passwords for Gmail,bank accounts etc. They're either written on small pieces of paper, listed in a confusing notebook or listed unprotected in Notes. Sound familiar?

I explain about passwords in a couple of my talks as it is extremely important to have secure and seperate passwords for your Facebook, Gmail and other logins.

Firstly we need to remember why we actually need passwords. Passwords are basically digital keys that keep your information safe. You have a secure lock on your front door, (I hope) and you wouldn't use the same key to lock your house, your car and your wallet, would you?

So you need a secure individual password to protect your bank account access, your email, your WiFi router, your credit card (pin number) etc. All of these contain information that, in the wrong hands, can enable crooks to impersonate you and maybe load you with debt or worse. So passwords are not to be taken lightly.

The best passwords are made up of uppercase (capitals) & lower case letters mixed with numbers and symbols. Certainly with a minimum of 8 characters. So how do we think of a great password, and remember it? Well, we can use phrases or information that we already know. Another way is to use a password manager, but more of that later.

How about using the first letter of a phrase that you know from your youth e.g. IaBmTyAgD52. That's " I'm a better man than you are Gunga Din" followed by a birthdate. - not mine! Or you can use an old telephone number, from when we had letters and numbers e.g. Edg5643. But what if you need more than one password?

I recommend that you use one of the many free (or almost free) Password Managers that you can download to your computer, iPad or phone. Preferably all three. Password Managers are small secured programs that you download and offer you a notes type writing area that is secured with ONE password, that you must remember.

They are placed on your device and will list all the details of your Credit Cards, passwords, passport numbers etc. They will also suggest secure passwords for you to use and these can be transferred to the website by the "cut & paste" method, or in some cases can be added automatically.

You can link the same Password Manager on all of your devices so that they can synchronize between themselves, solving the catastrophe if your phone gets lost or computer crashes.

You can also install a copy on your nearest relatives computer so that they can access your passwords if you are unable to.

The best known and most recommended Password Managers are: SafeinCloud, LastPass or DashLane, although there are others. All of these are free, and charge a small fee to synchronize between devices. Do not choose one that has a monthly charge as this can add up over time as you add more passwords. Personally, I like SafeinCloud which has a one time charge and is then updated totally free for life.

If you need more information, installation help or just want to discuss something connected to this article, you can call me on 054 574 6990 or send me a mail

Speak soon, Leslie Rose

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 Personal coaching and tech support for the over 50's
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