How to manage your passwords properly

The ever-growing sophistication of our online networks has seen many mergers and partnerships. If you're uneasy that various companies share information about you -- and worry about the line regarding Internet privacy  -- it's essential to manage your passwords properly.

One or few passwords could be the key for hackers
To access all of your accounts—from online banking to Internet dating—you use passwords. You can fuse various accounts on this perpetually expanding technological maze. But you can also sever those connections if you desire. Through individual passwords you have the opportunity to craft your online environment to suit your tastes and security.

The problem: It can be very challenging to remember all of them. Studies have continually revealed that many people use the same couple of passwords for the vast majority of the accounts they open. Does this sound familiar? Unfortunately it might. If so, you are opening yourself up to hackers and other code breakers. Your online security may be compromised. You don’t want someone to access one account in your online network and subsequently be able to access all associated accounts, or even worse, your private financial or personal information.

How to securely manage passwords to protect your network of accounts
There are quite a few ways to effectively manage your passwords to ensure your online safety:

  1. Memorize: The most effective (and difficult) way is to create and memorize a new challenging password for every account you open. Considering the multitude of websites each of us use, this tactic is near impossible. If you attempt to remember and fail, you can always reset your password through each respective website. Nevertheless, this can be time consuming and might prompt you to lapse back into creating one simple password for all accounts.
  2. Write it Down: In a way, writing can be thought of as an external memory. You can simply write down your passwords in a journal or on a card and place this catalog in an easy to remember yet hard to think of unremarkable location. This technique is especially useful in the safety of your own home but terribly reckless at work. Hopefully, from consulting your journal frequently you might memorize the passwords. Thus enabling you to resort to tactic one, disposing of the journal entirely or keeping it hidden for security.
  3. Use a Password Manager: Certainly the most technologically advanced tactic, a password manager can help you tremendously. There are many to choose from including KeePass, Roboform and 1Password. LastPass is widely noted as an exceptional password management program. You can download it as a plugin for many web browsers, including Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Safari, Opera and Google Chrome. With LastPass you establish a master password that will manage all of your other passwords. The service also helps you think of strong passwords, which you can manage easily. One very useful feature is LastPass’ ability to fill in personal information on a variety of forms accurately and automatically. One potential vulnerability with all password managers is the risk of someone discovering your master password. You also need to verify that the management program comes from a reputable and ethical source. If your master password is discovered, your entire network becomes exposed.

Each strategy—memorization, writing and password managers—has its benefits and flaws. You need to weigh the pros and cons of each. You might need to experiment with a few of them to see which is the best fit for you.