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How to Make a Killer Password That Can’t be Hacked

How to Make a Killer Password That Can’t be Hacked

Twitter was recently hit with a security problem when the website was hacked, leaving a quarter of a million accounts in limbo. Weeks earlier, Zappos suffered the same issue. These are examples of how even the strongest passwords can be at risk. However, being the Internet users we are, we aren’t just going to pack up our digital lives and forgo the Internet altogether.

We must improve our current password practices and ensure that the day-to-day scammers and hackers don’t find the key to our online lives. Today, I present you with the comprehensive guide to everything about passwords. From how to choose a strong password to what to do afterwards.

Password Boot Camp

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    What better way to start a guide to passwords than by helping you create the ultimate password? To start, have your computer near by along with a writing utensil and a notepad- they’ll come in handy during this process, and are all that you’ll need. No need for dictionaries or a second individual—your password doesn’t have to be, and shouldn’t be, complicated and highly complex. Below are a couple of tips on how to get started:

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      1. Make Personal Passwords Non-Personal – One key tip is to ensure that your password is related in some way to you that will be easy for you to remember, while not including easily identifiable information. What does that all mean? Yes, you can work in your favorite color or television show into your password. However, don’t include your address or birthday in there.

      2. No Random Generators – Password generators are always considered recommended for choosing strong passwords, but I always advise staying away from them for two reasons. First, some generators heavily reuse password suggestions. Secondly, they are much harder to remember and will require to resorting to password recovery frequently.

      3. Break the Molds – I advise not making use of real words or phrases in your password. For example, if you are going to include the word “soccer” in your password, use “$0kr” instead. This also means, don’t make use of dictionaries in consulting your next password—that’s just asking for hackers to come to you like fresh bait.

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      4. The NAC Philosophy – The philisophy I just created while making this article is the NAC philisophy. This means ensuring that your password includes “Numbers A Characters” along with text. One common mistake with passwords is only including letters, but also including characters and numbers strengthens your password. Simply changing “LuvToPlaySoccer” into “!Luv2ply$okr!” turns a weak password into a strong one.

      5. Utilize the Strength Test – Finally, making use of a strength test can ensure that your password is top performing. Several online resources, including How Secure Is My Password, allows you to instantly see how strong (or common) your password truly is.

      Divide and Conquer

      It’s important to have a different password for each service that you use. It seems a bit difficult in the beginning, but when you begin to continually use the separate passwords for the separate services, you will find yourself associating one password with the service that matches it.

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        When you use a separate password for each website, make sure that you don’t simply leave out a letter or include an extra number—that’s not considered a true variation, and truthfully, it helps narrow down the hacker’s choices even more. So how do yourself to remember all of these passwords? Making use of applications for your desktop or mobile device is a huge help.

        I highly recommend Passwords Plus or KeePassX. Both services are cross platform, have high encryption protection, as well as support for saving the passwords and codes of various services that you use. LastPass is another well rounded password manager that I recommend for users to make use of.

        Secrets In the Details

        You have a great password, wonderful. Now what happens when you forget your password? No problem, just go to password recovery and answer a few questions and you’re done, correct? Well this “convenience” is more of a convenience for hackers than yourself. Many times, when asked to create a recovery answer to a question, we always pick the easiest ones to answer to quickly get through the process.

        However, if your hacker already has the password to your email and is looking to extend its reach, they will make use of your easy-to-answer recovery questions to increase their control over your personal life. How do you protect yourself from hackers passing the recovery test?

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          Answer questions truthfully but in a way that isn’t technically the norm. In other words, look to your recovery answers as passwords of their own. For example, if your question is “In which city were you born?” and your answer is Los Angeles, consider going a step further and including the state as well (even when asking for just a city), or spell the city in a different way, like *Lo$$ Angele$* instead of Los Angeles.

          A friend I consulted while creating this article mentioned a final tip: create an email address specifically for recovery. It may seem like a hotbed of all of your passwords, in one place, but if you ensure that you use the recovery only when you need it and emptying out your trash each time you make use of the password, an individual who hacks that email will be presented with an empty inbox—forcing them to target their prey elsewhere.

          Special iOS Consideration

          Finally, what’s the deal with iOS passwords? It seems that your FBI, secret spy, creative password production ends at this point. Most iPhone, and mobile users in general, seem to resort to simple passwords for their phones. This is worse than doing so for your social network, for example, because there is a greater likelihood of someone going into your phone than hackers in your website or services.

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            This could be because our idea of hackers is a bit distorted: from the teenager in a dark room trying to crack password codes, to your nosy friend who’s trying to go into your phone to take a peak at your text messages, both individuals are considered hackers. Chances are you’ll encounter the friend situation much more often. Below are a couple of quick tips on creating the ideal mobile password for iPhone users and how to increase your security even further:

            • Avoid Patterns: With only 10 numbers to your disposal for only four spots, it’s important to not have corresponding numbers used in your code. This means that 1234 is out, 0987, is out, and the like.
            • Match Numbers with Letters: You may not have noticed, but the keypad on your iPhone also has letters associated with the numbers, also known as T9. This makes it easier to associate a mini phrase to numbers. For example, RAYS = 7297 or WANT = 9268.
            • Look into Longer Passwords: iOS also allows you to make use of text passwords as well. Going into Settings > General > Passcode Lock > turning off “Simple Passcode” makes this happen. Make sure you abide by the tips mentioned in this article when going by this route.
            • Limit Access from Lock Screen: In the same settings area, you can also change what you allow access to when locked. You can prevent Siri, Passbook, and Reply with Message to be accessible from the lock screen. You can also erase iPhone data after 10 failed passcode attempts from here as well. However, I recommend against using that unless I’m traveling or in a compromising venue (a concert, for example).

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            Last Updated on February 15, 2019

            7 Tools to Help Keep Track of Goals and Habits Effectively

            7 Tools to Help Keep Track of Goals and Habits Effectively

            Now that 2011 is well underway and most people have fallen off the bandwagon when it comes to their New Year’s resolutions (myself included), it’s a good time to step back and take an honest look at our habits and the goals that we want to achieve.

            Something that I have learned over the past few years is that if you track something, be it your eating habits, exercise, writing time, work time, etc. you become aware of the reality of the situation. This is why most diet gurus tell you to track what you eat for a week so you have an awareness of the of how you really eat before you start your diet and exercise regimen.

            Tracking daily habits and progress towards goals is another way to see reality and create a way for you clearly review what you have accomplished over a set period of time. Tracking helps motivate you too; if I can make a change in my life and do it once a day for a period of time it makes me more apt to keep doing it.

            So, if you have some goals and habits in mind that need tracked, all you need is a tracking tool. Today we’ll look at 7 different tools to help you keep track of your habits and goals.

            Joe’s Goals

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              Joe’s Goals is a web-based tool that allows users to track their habits and goals in an easy to use interface. Users can add as many goals/habits as they want and also check multiple times per day for those “extra productive days”. Something that is unique about Joe’s Goals is the way that you can keep track of negative habits such as eating out, smoking, etc. This can help you visualize the good things that you are doing as well as the negative things that you are doing in your life.

              Joe’s Goals is free with a subscription version giving you no ads and the “latest version” for $12 a year.

              Daytum

                Daytum

                is an in depth way of counting things that you do during the day and then presenting them to you in many different reports and groups. With Daytum you can add several different items to different custom categories such as work, school, home, etc. to keep track of your habits in each focus area of your life.

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                Daytum is extremely in depth and there are a ton of settings for users to tweak. There is a free version that is pretty standard, but if you want more features and unlimited items and categories you’ll need Daytum Plus which is $4 a month.

                Excel or Numbers

                  If you are the spreadsheet number cruncher type and the thought of using someone else’s idea of how you should track your habits turns you off, then creating your own Excel/Numbers/Google spreadsheet is the way to go. Not only do you have pretty much limitless ways to view, enter, and manipulate your goal and habit data, but you have complete control over your stuff and can make it private.

                  What’s nice about spreadsheets is you can create reports and can customize your views in any way you see fit. Also, by using Dropbox, you can keep your tracker sheets anywhere you have a connection.

                  Evernote

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                    I must admit, I am an Evernote junky, mostly because this tool is so ubiquitous. There are several ways you can implement habit/goal tracking with Evernote. You won’t be able to get nifty reports and graphs and such, but you will be able to access your goal tracking anywhere your are, be it iPhone, Android, Mac, PC, or web. With Evernote you pretty much have no excuse for not entering your daily habit and goal information as it is available anywhere.

                    Evernote is free with a premium version available.

                    Access or Bento

                      If you like the idea of creating your own tracker via Excel or Numbers, you may be compelled to get even more creative with database tools like Access for Windows or Bento for Mac. These tools allow you to set up relational databases and even give you the option of setting up custom interfaces to interact with your data. Access is pretty powerful for personal database applications, and using it with other MS products, you can come up with some pretty awesome, in depth analysis and tracking of your habits and goals.

                      Bento is extremely powerful and user friendly. Also with Bento you can get the iPhone and iPad app to keep your data anywhere you go.

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                      You can check out Access and the Office Suite here and Bento here.

                      Analog Bonus: Pen and Paper

                      All these digital tools are pretty nifty and have all sorts of bells and whistles, but there are some people out there that still swear by a notebook and pen. Just like using spreadsheets or personal databases, pen and paper gives you ultimate freedom and control when it comes to your set up. It also doesn’t lock you into anyone else’s idea of just how you should track your habits.

                      Conclusion

                      I can’t necessarily recommend which tool is the best for tracking your personal habits and goals, as all of them have their quirks. What I can do however (yes, it’s a bit of a cop-out) is tell you that the tool to use is whatever works best for you. I personally keep track of my daily habits and personal goals with a combo Evernote for input and then a Google spreadsheet for long-term tracking.

                      What this all comes down to is not how or what tool you use, but finding what you are comfortable with and then getting busy with creating lasting habits and accomplishing short- and long-term goals.

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