Making your Passwords Unique for Every Website Can be Easy.

Making your Passwords Unique for Every Website Can be Easy

Image of a person entering a computer password

I personally change my password ‘system’ every year and recently I was really pleased that I do this as I received a scam email that listed my password as…

comp10utersup66portDIR

I was startled, as this was the system I used 3 years ago. Not one that that someone could have guessed easily! I went onto haveibeenpwned.com and yes I have!

Breaches listed on haveibeenpawned that you may recognize include Adobe, Domino’s, Dropbox (2016), LinkedIn, MySpace, SnapChat, Tumblr, uTorrent, Xbox 360 ISO, Yahoo. There were also breaches where it is unknown where the list was obtained from.

So how can you protect yourself?

You could use a password manager – there are lots of good ones out there that will make it easy to have a unique one for every site. Some argue that it is safer to manage your passwords yourself. What can you do then?

Well firstly change your password regularly – as I knew the password listed in the scam email was old I was able to dismiss it as a scam instantly.

Also make the password for every website different. Too challenging?

Image of man thinking

It can be really easy. So, for example 3 years ago I would include the first three letters of the website at the end of my password. So:

Amazon would be comp10utersup66portAMA

Google would be comp10utersup66portGOO

Twitter would be comp10utersup66portTWI

This means that the password that was breached comp10utersup66portDIR could only be used for the one site that was hacked. Yes, it would not be difficult to guess my system, but if you were a hacker and you had just purchased hundreds of thousands of passwords would you bother?

It doesn’t have to be the first 3 letters. You could use the last two letters. Or the first letter and the last letter. You don’t have to include them at the end. You could include them at the beginning, or in the middle. Whatever works for you that will make your Internet surfing and shopping more secure. True it’s not as secure as a completely random password, but it’s safer than just using the same word or code for everything.

So to ensure you are safe in 2019 make your first New Year resolution a commitment to make your passwords more secure.

Rebecca Mansbridge
January 2019