Today is Gizmodo International Change Your Password Day! Time to be responsible and come up with some 64-character string of random shit you’ll forget. Or, you could just keep the password you already have and be fine. Let’s do that.
I’ve had pretty much the same password for the past 12 years with very little variation from site to site and year to year. It’s a reference to a childhood experience so faint that sometimes I forget where it even came from. It’s not in any dictionary. It has numbers. It’s good enough. I use it everywhere.
We should all take security seriously. Make sure your router uses WPA2 encryption, don’t stay logged in to Facebook at the Apple Store, and don’t give your girlfriend your online banking login. Try two-step authentication. Care about yourself online. But this stuff is common sense, as is most password strategy. Pick a decent password and then stick with it. Odds are, you’ll never have to change it, because odds are nobody on the internet will ever care about you enough to find it. You’re not important. I’m not important. Very few people are worth the time to steal from or brute force a password out of. You’re not Bank of America or Sony.
So keep this decent password, and use it across the internet — Gmail, Facebook, Amazon, whatever — with a few variations thrown in here and there. Something you can remember. Something sane. Using a completely random password for every single site you use on the internet is neither sane nor practical, and using a password manager makes it impossible or a pain in the arse to login from someone else’s computer.
If a site you use gets hacked, change any account that uses the same password. That was simple, wasn’t it? Don’t write your password on a sticky note and tape it to your forehead. That’s simple, isn’t it? Don’t make your password “password” or “12345678” or “sparkle”. That’s not so hard, right? You don’t need to change it from week to week, or month to month. Keep it for years — nobody will notice. You’re no more likely to be “hacked” today than you are at some set point in time down the road, so intervals are bunk.
So relax. Be reasonable, or before you know it, the internet won’t be a Xanadu of amusement and utility, but a Supermax paranoia zone of endless lists, random phrases and undue scrutiny. Just don’t be stupid, and your password is probably fine. So tomorrow, live like you’ve always lived — full of heart, eyes forward, and with all the same passwords you know so well. Because, hey, it’s easier.