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Website security and passwords

What is a secure password and why do I need one?

Having your email or web account hacked is not a lot of fun and can result in considerable inconvenience, damage to your company’s reputation and possible loss of sensitive customer information. That’s why we always recommend that clients use a secure password to protect their website and email accounts. WordPress in particular, as one of the most popular web publishing platforms, can be a target for hackers looking to exploit weak passwords.

A secure password is often defined as more than 15 characters, preferably with added complexity i.e. a mix of upper and lower case letters, numbers and punctuation e.g. C-6</0];[$x/t{W.

Why can’t I use one password for everything?

If a thief gets hold of that one password, perhaps from an insignificant not very secure site that you’ve even forgotten you signed up to, then they have the keys to all your doors – your EBay, Facebook etc. That could cause some serious damage and financial loss.

How am I supposed to remember complex passwords?

One option is to get your browser to remember the password and log you in automatically every time. Here’s how you turn on password logging for Chrome, Internet Explorer and Firefox. However, using browsers to memorise your passwords can be a security risk in itself – if a thief gets access to your computer by hacking or if it is stolen then the browser passwords are easy to get at.

Another solution is to use a password ‘safe’ which protects all your passwords, logs you in automatically and often syncs to other devices such as phones and tablets. There are many commercial password safes such as 1Password and LastPass and the free open source PasswordSafe.

How do I make up secure passwords?

Sites like Strong Password Generator can help you make a strong password quickly.

Of course a password like C-6</0];[$x/t{W isn’t very memorable and even if you are using a password safe you still have to be able to type in the master password! In fact, length is a more important factor than complexity when it comes to making secure passwords and this article describes a method of creating secure passwords which are easily memorised.

Finally once you’ve made up your password you can check how secure it is.