There’s a bit of a catch-22 in modern living when it comes to security passwords. With so many of life’s processes today requiring some sort of security to prevent access from hackers and thieves, the average Australian needs to be able to remember dozens of them, a process which, in itself, is so difficult that people will often resort to using just one or two for everything – thus lowering their security effectiveness and defeating the purpose.
Thankfully, it looks like a future without piles of passwords isn’t too far off. Whether it’s fingerprint technology, iris scans, voice recognition or even the rather alarming-sounding vein scan (technology that scans your palm to map your vein patterns), plenty of modern-day security measures are chomping at the bit to be released into the big wide world. The major hurdle stopping this enormous shift forward in identification authorisation is hardware concerns – suppliers need to be working together to produce working outcomes, and that’s not always the case in the technological sphere, particularly the notoriously secretive mobile arena.
In a possible sign of things to come, Google recently acquired the security start-up SlickLogin, an Israeli-based company made up of three young cyber security experts working together on a “password-killing” project, which they say they devised because they believe “logging in should be easy instead of frustrating and authentication should be effective without getting in the way”.
The trio’s idea uses soundwave technology to verify that the correct, pre-registered smartphone is in the hands of the person attempting to gain entry to a website. The site sends soundwaves (inaudible to humans) to the phone and the encrypted data informs the site that you are allowed entry.
It is not yet known whether Google will roll out this technology as is or use it for ongoing security technology development, but it’s definitely a signal that something’s in the offing.
Creating a memorable password
Meanwhile, however, until all this fancy technology hits the high street, we’re stuck with multiple passwords for now. Here are our top tips to help keep the hackers at bay:
- Try to have different passwords for all the websites, emails and mobile devices you use, particularly ones that contain confidential information, like your bank.
- Try to use letters, numbers, symbols and spaces in your passwords to make them harder to guess.
- Don’t use publicly available information about yourself – e.g. your birthday, your age, your address, your phone number – and change your passwords occasionally.
- Personalise your passwords with something anyone else is unlikely to know – the title of your favourite book, or a catchy advertising slogan you’ve always been able to remember.
- Substitute letters and numbers with symbols e.g. if you wanted to use “SlipSlopSlap”, you could have “5lip5lop5lap” instead. Don’t forget you can also use spaces – the longer a password is, the better.
- As long as you’re alone when you’re keying in a password, say it out loud as you type. This will help it stick in your memory.
Essentially, it’s good to play around with your passwords just to make them that little bit more cryptic. And if you really must write them down somewhere, simply write a clue to yourself, to prompt your memory, rather than the password itself.