Email is the single most important account you have because it is most often used to reset your other accounts. When you have a problem with your Twitter account, it is reset using your email. When your Office 365 account has a problem, it is reset through email. When your Google account has an issue, it is reset through… wait for it… email.
Email is the key to nearly all of your accounts and therefore nearly all of your private data. If you can hack an email account, you can get into that persons Apple account and spend spend spend. If you can get into someone’s email account you can even cancel their TV or phone subscription. You can get into their Amazon account, change the shipping address and spend spend spend.
So the question your should be asking yourself is how should you keep your email accounts safe? The answer is tiers. Tiers? What does that mean you might ask yourself. It means that inspite of governments and companies best efforts to convince you to make every password you have long, complex and unique, we both know you are not going to do it. You are going to reuse your passwords over and over again on different systems and that is fine if you use tiers.
What is a password tier? In this digital world you need to have different levels or groups or tiers of passwords that you reuse and your email password needs to be right at the top of that list. You should have an easy to remember but complex passwords for the most important accounts like email. Next down the list are critical medical and financial systems. Keep a separate password for this level of high security systems, and so on and so forth.
If you were to write out your list of digital accounts and group them into security levels the might look something like this:
LEVEL DESCRIPTION SAMPLE PASSWORDS
Top Security Email I like CheeZe21 or 40FiveFiveFive1212!
High Security Banks, Medical, Stores CheeZe21, or 5Five51212
Important Facebook, Twitter Cheeze21 or FBookfun21
Low Security webinar registration Cheese21 or weBinare21
So the next time you have to register an account or reset a password, use password tiers so you can remember them easily but others just can’t hack them.
Now you may ask, how will this help if the system I trust my account information gets hacked and the answer is that tiering will make sure that a hacker cannot use your LinkedIn password with your MasterCard account. This is not a perfect world but there are simple things we can do to substantially improve our security and keeping strong passwords that you can remember is one of them.
For more information on how to keep your passwords safe see:
- What are the Top Ways Hackers Get Your Passwords
- What are the Ten Best Ways to Secure Your Passwords
- What are the Top 10 Passwords For 2016
- What are the Worst 10 Passwords in 2016