Protect your data and your computer with a secure password
If you answer “No” to both questions, your data and computer are at risk. With a password concept and the “KeePass” tool, you eliminate all risks. Read this article to find out how to protect your data and your computer with a secure password.
Observe the basic rules for a secure password
It doesn’t matter which password it is: each password should be at least 8, better 12 characters long. The password itself should contain upper and lower case letters as well as numbers and special characters. Follow these rules when assigning a password.
No way should you
- use easy-to-guess words that are in the dictionary, for example, or
- Use phone numbers, dates of birth, names, license plates, or similar easily identifiable information.
Assign a separate password for each application
Never use the same password for multiple applications. This applies in particular to
- the login to your PC,
- access to network shares,
- online registration,
- the protection of accounts, for example e-mail or cloud.
Keep your passwords in a safe place
Nobody can remember all passwords. This applies in particular to passwords that are rarely needed, such as the password for router access. Make a list of your passwords and keep it in a safe place.
No way should you
- Save passwords in a text, Excel or Word file and store them on your PC,
- Write passwords down on a piece of paper and keep them under your keyboard, on your desk or near your PC.
Keep track of all passwords with a password manager
You should use a password manager to implement a secure password concept. The advantage: You only have to remember one password, all other passwords are in the secure safe of your password manager.
One example of a password manager is the “KeePass Classic Edition” tool, which you can use to easily and securely manage your passwords. You can download a current version of “KeePass” for free.
To install “KeePass” proceed as follows:
- Open Windows Explorer with “Windows key” + “E” and double-click on the “KeePass-Setup.exe” file you just downloaded.
- Select the language “German”, click on “OK” and on “Next”.
- Check the “I accept the agreement” option and click “Next”.
- Confirm the save location by clicking Next.
- For a quick start, select the option “Create a desktop icon”, click on “Next” and finally on “Install”.
- Now start “KeePass” by clicking on the desktop icon of the same name.
- Click “Get more languages” and download the German language file “KeePass-1.30-German.zip”. Unzip this and save the file in the folder “C:Program FilesKeePass Password Safe”.
- Set the German language in the upper menu bar by clicking on “View and Change Language…”. Your “KeePass” is now ready to use.
Create a secure password safe with “KeePass”.
After installation, start “KeePass” by clicking on the desktop icon of the same name. Use the “File” and “New” commands to create a database in which all passwords are stored.
Enter the main password (master password) for the “KeePass” database. This password acts like a key to a safe and you have access to the “KeePass” data safe.
How to securely manage your passwords with “KeePass”.
“KeePass” automatically creates five groups into which you can sort your passwords, for example “Windows” for your login password or “Homebanking” for your bank’s user name and password.
If you now want to enter a password for an application, click on the “Add entry” key symbol. Enter your username and password here. For security reasons, enter the password twice. Below that, enter the URL, i.e. the website for which you need the password.
If you want to access a password-protected website or program, start “KeePass” and enter the master password.
In the left column, open the group in which you entered the access data. In the right pane, right-click on the relevant entry in “KeePass” and select “Open URL(s)”. The website or applications open.
Follow the 10 golden rules for strong passwords
Before you start managing your passwords with “KeePass”, use the following checklist to make sure that your passwords are really secure:
- Never use passwords that can be easily guessed. So not your name, your date of birth, the names of your partner, your children or pets.
- Use passwords that are as long as possible. Because the more characters a password has, the more difficult it is to crack. A password should have at least 8, but better 12 characters.
- Include digits and characters such as commas and colons or a space: Example: “ea/17,03”. In this way, you make it more difficult for crack programs to reach their goal simply by trying out frequently used or generated passwords.
- You make it even more difficult for crack programs if you use passwords without a meaningful context, such as “KaZdTs-dSsa”. However, these are hard to remember.
- Secure passwords are easier to memorize if you remember a suitable proverb or phrase as a mnemonic. For example, “BMW – AFaF” stands for “BMW – For the joy of driving”.
- Intentionally include spelling mistakes in your password, such as “safety” instead of “security”.
- Many applications distinguish between upper and lower case when prompting for a password. Take advantage of this and vary it according to your mood.
- If possible, use a different password for each application.
- Get in the habit of changing your password regularly. Because if someone did look over your shoulder while you were typing, you can prevent further misuse in this way.
- Even if your program offers an option to save a password, do not enable it. The price for the convenience is that it is stored somewhere on your hard drive and is therefore accessible.
Photo credit: vectorfusionart / stock.adobe.com
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