Keeping your passwords safe

Time for a controversial statement: following the password guidelines on most websites does not make your passwords safer.

Firstly, these rules don't make for much stronger passwords. Most people just pick a word, capitalise it and add a number at the end (sound familiar?). The ideal password is a random collection of letters and numbers, as long as the site would let you make it.

Secondly, it's not the strength of your password, it’s how often you reuse it. By far the most likely way someone will get your password is that it has been leaked by a website that was hacked. Are you using one password on many sites? This is risky.

If you want to see if this is already the case, go to https://haveibeenpwned.com and enter your email address.

But having a different password for each site is a pain, unless you write them down or keep them in a password manager. Of course it's not ideal to write down your passwords, but it is safer than picking the same password for all your sites.

I can recommend two password managers that can keep your passwords safe:

How does it work? All your passwords for your website logins are stored in one place, kept secure by one good master password. The password manager will then fill in the passwords on the sites you visit. Random, strong passwords can even be generated for you if you need them.

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Keeping your passwords safe