At the last count I had 150 different computer accounts and no, they don’t all have the same password! The last thing I want is for somebody who cracks my password for an online word processor to then get access to my bank account.
A secure database to store all my passwords
I use an excellent open-source password database called KeePass to keep track of all my passwords (as well any other registration keys, credit card numbers and codes). I also record any details required when registering with a new site, then if my postal address changes I can do a quick search through the database to see which sites I need to update with my new address.
This is a big help, but I don’t want to fire up a password manager every single time I need to login to something. So I have a manual system for generating passwords based on the service name or website.
A unique and secure password for each service
Here are two examples:
This is how I login 2 Hotmail – letter 3 = t which gives the password: TihIl2H-l3=t
Or for Skype.com
This is how I login 2 Skype – letter 3 = y which gives the password: TihIl2S-l3=y
I think these are secure passwords, they are 12 characters long, a mixture of upper and lower case, contain no names or dates and the phrase makes them quite easy to remember.
So with a system like this you can remember your different passwords, protect your online identity and of course there’s little chance of splattering your monitor with brain.
Consider having a few different passwords phrases and encoding systems, that way even if somebody gets hold of a few of your passwords they still can’t crack everything.
Change your password system occasionally. This is actually why I use a password database like KeePass. By keeping it up to date I know which passwords I’ve changed. Otherwise you never change your passwords because you’re afraid you’ll forget which passwords changed and to what.
You might want to consider using an automated system for generating passwords based on a domain name which is even more secure than the manual system I described.
(This post inspired by a discussion about passwords with Coolz0r)