Keys, passwords and a little will

We all like our keys.  Well, perhaps not the actual key but we sure like the idea of locking something that’s important to us.  So why don’t we like passwords? They do the same thing don’t they?

Yes, I know, they’re hard to remember aren’t they? You can’t  just pick them up and put them in your pocket or your bag.

So, because our brains don’t like remembering complexed strings of meaningless numbers, we go and choose a memorable word and stick one or two memorable numbers with it.  And guess what, if you use the same memorable word and numbers more than once you are probably not on your own!

The thing is, there are some very clever criminals out there that know that too and they have written very clever software that can throw a dictionary at your cyber lock and guess what? It’s a piece of cake for them to crack your memorable password!  And if you have used it more than once, you make life even easier for them.  Would you have the same lock fitted to you car, your house, your desk and your shed?  No you would not.  So why use the same password for your social media accounts, your shopping accounts, your email accounts and your bank accounts?


So what is the easy answer?

If it is in the dictionary, DO NOT USE IT!

Use pass phrases instead.

Try remembering these passwords:




I can hear what you are thinking.  They’re just about impossible to remember, but if you are thinking this, you are wrong.  Let’s take each one in turn…

These are the first letters in the song “we all live in a yellow submarine, a yellow submarine, a yellow submarine”.  The next one is “Jingle bells, jingle bells, jingle all the way…” and the last one, “I love my two children immensely”.  The last one may not be that long, but you hopefully get my drift.  The first two are unnecessarily long but that was just to make the point that it can still be long and memorable.

So, now I have a safe password that is unlikely to be found in a dictionary, I now need to make sure that I do not use it again.  The answer is to use a password manager like “last pass” or Apples “key chain”.  Most platforms and devices allow a password manager to fill in the password for you.  This way you can use your memorable pass phrase as the key to access your password manager and let it do the rest.  Password managers also allow you to send a copy of an account “key” to a friend or colleague (if they use the same password manager) without them needing to know your actual password.  These password managers also suggest very strong passwords which is great because you do not need to remember them and they can all be different.  And if you are thinking you may have a problem when swapping devices, don’t worry, all you need to do is install the password manager on each device.  It is also worth mentioning here that programs like “last pass” can be used to keep private notes and other contact information.

One final layer of security is to turn on two factor authorisation if it is available.  This is a great additional layer of security which requires the person who is entering your password to be near your phone when the six digit code is sent in text format.

We also need to think about what happens to our digital information when we die.  It is OK to keep a written copy of your key password email address somewhere safe where your family or executor will know where to find it.  With this “key” information, they will be free to access your other accounts and passwords.  Most online social media sites like facebook, linkedin, google etc have what is called “legacy contacts” that you can find in the sites settings tab.  This is where you can leave the details of someone who can act on your behalf if something happens to you.

So, that’s about it for passwords and security, its time to turn my pc off and go home.

Where did I put those keys?

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