<p>Following a <a href="http://blogs.forbes.com/firewall/2010/12/13/the-lessons-of-gawkers-security-mess"> recent scare about password security</a> folks have been asking what they should do to keep their information safer on-line.</p> <p></p> <p>Well, the obvious this is not to use the same password for every site, but it&rsquo;s really hard to think up and remember new passwords for each site.</p> <p></p> <p>A couple of quick and easy ideas are to pick a word you can remember (but not something easily identifiable with you) and add some letters from the site you are visiting to make it unique.</p> <p>For instance if your chosen phrase is &ldquo;<i>cheese</i>&rdquo; and you are creating a password for <i>Twitter</i> you could take the first two consonants from the site name (<i>tw</i>) and combine them &ldquo;<i>twcheese</i>&rdquo;. You could make it more complex by adding a special character and adding mixed case &ldquo;<i>tw$Cheese</i>&rdquo; or substituting numbers for letters &ldquo;<i>tw$Chee5e</i>&rdquo;. In the same way your password for Facebook would become &ldquo;<i>fb#Chee5e</i>&rdquo; &ndash; easy to remember, because of your rule, but hard for someone else to guess. If you&rsquo;re feeling like making it even harder you could take those two consonants and shift them on the keyboard&hellip; up a row or across a character so the password becomes &ldquo;<i>gn$Chee5e</i>&rdquo; (<i>f</i> becomes <i>g</i>, <i>b</i> becomes <i>n</i>. The <i>p</i>, <i>l</i> or <i>m</i> would wrap to <i>q</i>, <i>a</i> or <i>z</i> for instance)</p> <p></p> <p>Of course this still means remembering the passwords, and sometimes a site may have specific rules that break your usual pattern (minimum or maximum length, complexity, use of special characters etc) so it&rsquo;s nice to have a tool to help with that&hellip;</p> <p></p> <p><a href="http://keepass.info/"><span style="color:windowtext;text-decoration:none;"><div class='p_embed p_image_embed'> <img alt="Image001" height="75" src="/images/2010/12/image001.gif?w=75" width="75" />

</div> </span></a></p> <p></p> <p>I use KeePass to keep track of those passwords for me (both ones I create and also for some sites I get it to generate random ones for me). It’s especially handy because for a lot of sites I simply have to navigate to the site and hit the hot-key and it will auto-complete username and password fields for me, so I don’t have to leave any information in my browser. KeePass secures your password collection against a master password (so you only have to remember one thing) or uses a physical key (so as long as you keep them separate it’s very secure).</p> <p></p> <p>Because I use a couple of machines I also use the KeePassSync plugin which lets you sync between Amazon S3 storage or DigitalBucket (a free online file storage platform). The only thing I wish I could do is carry the passwords around on my phone and use Bluetooth pairing or a USB connection to make sure I always had them to hand.</p>