A serious vulnerability in OpenSLL protocol (nicknamed “Heartbleed”) has been discovered. So, if haven’t already, you need to change your Internet passwords.
I can hear the groaning now.
What is the Heartbleed Bug?
The Heartbleed Bug allows stealing the information protected by the SSL/TLS encryption used to secure the Internet. SSL/TLS provides communication security and privacy over the Internet for applications such as web, email, instant messaging (IM) and some virtual private networks (VPNs).
In short, if you have ANY online accounts, you can be pretty sure you’ll need to change your passwords.
And Heartbleed Bug aside, in order to protect your privacy, you should be using strong passwords that aren’t easy to break. So think of this as a great opportunity to secure your online information.
Here’s an initial list of sites you need to be concerned with.
Before you start groaning too much about how much time you’ll waste today changing passwords, here’s a couple options to make it easier.
How to create a SUPER strong password that’s REALLY easy to remember.
1. Use a paid app to create passwords.
One of the simplest methods to creating new, super strong passwords is using an app such as 1Password. It’s available for Mac, PC, iOS, and Android. The apps lives on your device and automatically creates passwords for your online accounts.
1Password gives you the security you need in today’s online world without slowing you down. 1Password makes you more productive while simultaneously increasing your security with strong, unique passwords for all your accounts.
If you don’t mind dropping $50 for a Single User license or $70 for a Family license, this paid app is the way to go.
To make it easier for everyone to improve their security 1Password has offered their software for 50% Off. Buy it here.
2. Manually create online passwords.
First off, here’s a list of the 25 worst passwords you can use. DON’T use any of these!
Edit: Here’s a good article on understanding how passwords are broken.
Now that’s out of the way, let’s look at creating an easy-to-remember password.
The most secure passwords are at least 8 characters in length, contain Upper and Lowercase letters, numbers, and symbols.
Here’s how to manually create a strong and unique password for every site — and remember it! I’ve been using this system for years and have never forgotten a single password.
1. Pick a keyword (at least 4 characters long) that’s easy for you to remember. It can be an word but MUST to be something you’ll never forget. For this example, I’ll use “popsicle”.
2. For the word you chose above, capitalize the first letter. This will give you “Popsicle”.
3. Add the first two letters of the website name to the front of your keyword. If you’re creating a new password for Facebook, it would be ‘fa’. Your password, so far, would now be “faPopsicle”.
4. Now add a number and a symbol to the end. It can be “1!” or “2@” etc. Although it can be ANY combination, using the number and symbol from the same keyboard key makes it easier to remember.
Your final password for Facebook would then be “faPopsicle1!” That’s a 12 character password that contains Upper and Lowercase letters, a number, and a symbol. If the website was Pinterest, it would be “piPopsicle1!”, etc.
You now have a simple process for creating a super strong password that’s easy to remember.
It should go without saying, but I’ll say it anyway. Don’t EVER tell anyone your keyword from step #1. Doing so can reveal ALL your passwords.
Additionally, stay away from using any of the listed 25 worst passwords, your child’s name, your pets name, or your birth date as your primary keyword.
One last suggestion regarding changing passwords due to the Heartbleed bug. You’ll want to confirm the site you’re changing the password for has actually patched the security hole or your new password could be exposed as well.
If you have a different process or applications you use to keep your accounts safe, drop your thoughts below.