Magazine Articles - 8 - Focus Magazines for Over Wyre and Garstang

Most people will have a few ... and some of us have dozens

Computer Safety no. 7: 01-July-2013

It’s now time to start looking at one of the most important user topics – passwords. These days it seems that almost every website you visit wants you to create an account just to look around- at the very least anyone using the internet will need one account (for your broadband) and probably two as you will be using email too. Most people will have a few more, and some of us have dozens.

phishing emailsThe official security advice is that you should have a different login name and strong password for every single site or account you use online. This is because having the same password for different sites means that if one account gets hacked, the bad guys may then be able to use it elsewhere and get access to your online banking for example.

fraudstersIn real life, if you have a few passwords, it can help to think of them as like a big bunch of keys to your home - some are more important than others and therefore need to be a bigger/stronger key. Bank accounts are obviously the most important, but many people don’t realise that an email account is also important as this can be used to gain access to other accounts. All these need to have unique and very strong passwords. Any shopping sites where your bank or credit card details are stored and which could be used to make purchases should also be protected with different strong passwords. Other shopping sites where there is no financial information stored are not quite as important, and sites for things like hobbies and newspapers etc are a lower level risk provided that you do not use any of your important passwords for them.

A strong password is:

  • a long phrase or sentence
  • with a mix of capital and lowercase letters
  • includes numbers and symbols (#@-~)
  • is NOT a word in a dictionary
  • and is NOT your name, child’s name, pet, partner, phone number, football team etc

For PIN numbers (online or to use with your bank cards), please don’t use: sequential numbers (6789), repeated numbers (3333), your own phone number, or any year.

.... you can also use password management software to help you...

It is never a good idea to write your passwords down on a note stuck to your computer, but it is actually much safer to use unique strong passwords on all your logins with the details written down and stored carefully away from the computer than it is to end up using the same simple password for everything because you can’t remember several different long ones. If you have quite a few passwords, you can also use password management software to help you. With these, you just need to remember one master password (make it a REALLY good one) and the program will take care of the rest. Examples include Norton Identity Safe or McAfee SafeKey which are included with their internet security packages, or a separate one such as LastPass or KeePass.

Finally don’t let your browser save the passwords for you as this isn’t secure, don’t tell anyone else your passwords, and try to change them regularly.

Next month – a closer look at online shopping and banking.

Don’t forget to check out some of the advice available on the Get Safe Online website at, and if you have any questions or concerns about security, then please do give me a ring for a quick chat.

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Publication Details

  • Date: July 2013 / August 2013
  • Publication: Over Wyre Focus & Garstang Focus
  • Page: Over Wyre - 42 / Garstang - 18
  • Link: