Data breaches and identity theft are becoming more common. Ensuring you have a secure, strong password and two-factor authentication is the first step in preventing cybercriminals from gaining access to your information.
The essentials of password security are
Passwords must be complex. Passwords should be 8 to 12 characters long. Use a mix of letters, numbers, and symbols. Vary upper case and lower case letters.
Passwords should not be reused. Don’t use the same password on multiple sites. It is also recommended that you change your password every 90 days.
Don’t use real words within a password, they are much easier for hackers to breach.
Check to see whether or not your passwords have been previously stolen. Google and Firefox offer tools to see if your emails and passwords have been compromised in a data breach.
Don’t use your bank PIN for your phone!
Since it is impossible to remember many complex passwords, you will need a password safe.
Keepass is a widely used secure password safe, which is free to use.
To download the latest version of Keepass go to https://keepass.info/download.html and download the latest version.
At the time of writing, the latest version in Keepass 2.53
Download the .exe file.
Once you have downloaded the .exe file, run it to install the software.
Follow the usual installation instructions, once installed the Keepass program will start.
Once running, you will need to create a new file to store passwords in, to do this click ‘file’ … ‘new’ and select a suitable filename and folder to store it in.
Then you will be asked to set up a Master Password. You must select a complex but memorable password. If you forget this password there is no way to retrieve any data you store in Keepass.
Once setup, you can enter your passwords in Keepass, add entries by clicking on the gold key icon and fill in the fields you need.
Remember to save changes using the disk icon.
To access your passwords, run Keepass, and it will automatically open the last password-safe file you used, you will then need to enter your master password.
Look for the password you need, and copy it from Keepass using copy, and paste it where you need it.
In order to not lose your passwords in the event of your PC breaking, you will need to back up the file the passwords are stored in. This file is the one you chose during setup, and ends “.kbdx”.
The easiest way to backup this file is to email it to yourself, on an email system such as Gmail, leaving a copy of the file on the Gmail server.