CitrusKiwi's Web Design, Internet & Marketing blog

Get hints and tips about web design, SEO, and things internet. We also discuss online security issues, showcase new client websites and offer hints on marketing and networking.

Passwords and how to store them

Passwords and how to store them

Just recently, one of our clients had their GoDaddy account hacked. The hackers, fortunately, only pointed the domain at a random Vietnamese hosting company - it could have been much worse. However, the client had to go through all the hassle of being without a site for over a week, and dealing with getting access to their account so I could reset their settings. It could have been so much worse though.

2-step authentication

If you have an account (like GoDaddy's) that offers 2 step authentication, turn it on. This sends a text to a specified phone number which the person trying to log on must enter to get in. It's a great layer of security, and simple to set up. Is is more painful for you to then log into your account(s)? Of course, that's the point. However, it sure beats being hacked!

So many passwords, so little time...

Anyone who's followed my posts over the years has seen me talk about passwords and what I think constitutes a PW worth having. About 5 years ago I was recommending 8 character PWs, including numbers, upper and lower case and special characters (the ones above the number keys on a standard keyboard). A couple of years back I changed my recommendation to 12 characters, and that's what I'm still using. For those for whom math was NOT their favorite high school subject, a 12 character PW gives you this many possible combinations - 9412 (94 is the number of keys available for use, and the 12 is the number of characters) = 475,920,000,000,000,000,000,000 possibilities. Enough to keep even a decent computer busy for some time.

But what happens if you have a lot of PWs you need to remember. Another client recently said they keep a notebook with PWs in it. Great, until you lose it, then can't remember any PWs at all. And someone else finds it! Far worse! But they were onto the right idea, write them down. The dilemma is storing them so they're accessible, and secondly, safe. For those of you who have Office, you already have a great solution - Word. You can find out about password protecting Word docs here -

Two things to be aware of. You need to back it up to a few different places to be safe, and you still need to treat the document with care. In reality, nothing is unhackable anymore. What you need to do is make yourself less worth the effort so a hacker will move onto someone else. So it's not the panacea for all evils, but it's better than a notebook.

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