Password security

Remember, back in the early days of the internet, we were all told to never write down our passwords anywhere? The fear was, I guess, that thieves would break in to our homes and steal our passwords.

Well, back in those days we didn’t have many logins for things, did we? But as our digital lives grew, we created logins on more and more and more websites. And because we didn’t want to forget our login details, but were scared to write them down in case Burglar Bill with his mask and sack-with-a-dollar-sign-painted-on-it stole it, what did we do? Yes, we used the same username and password for lots of different websites.

Now, we know that this is very very bad. Thieves do want to steal our passwords, yes, but they’re not climbing over our fence and smashing our window to get them. They’re hacking them online. And if they hack your details from one website, and you’ve used those details on other websites, you’re badly vulnerable. Worst case scenario, if they get your password from a camera forum, and it’s the same password you use for your web banking … that’s potentially catastrophic.

So in this modern day, the advice is turned completely on its head. Use different logins and passwords for every site, and write them down!!!! Yes, write them down. You can’t possibly hope to store dozens and dozens of different passwords in your head, unless you’re Rain Man. Sure, the risk of Burglar Bill is still there, but it’s microscropically small compared to the risk of Hacker Henry.

Get yourself a simple little address book like this …


… and start using it. In fact, set aside a few hours one day to go to all the websites you can think of where you’ve used your generic passwords, and change them. Take it from me, you’ll feel better.

I know, I know, who has got time for that? There are so many other things you’d rather be doing. But PLEASE do it, to keep yourself safe. It seems that lately we hear about another major data breach every month. We mustn’t ever say it won’t happen to us. It could.


If you have a question about this article, please feel free to post it in Ask Damien.