👍 #785 – Why Is It So Important to Use a Different Password on Every Site?

It's annoying, it's a pain, and it's difficult to maintain (unless you have help), but it's critically important.

Different passwords for every different site or service.

Within reason I don't really care how you do it, but do it you must.

Also this week:

Speaking of painful annoyances, here's one I don't believe in: being forced to change your password periodically.

Here's a personal pet peeve: Microsoft's wacky naming strategy! Case in point: the ongoing confusion over just what "Outlook" means.

Struggling with a sudden drop in Wi-Fi signal strength? I have some ideas for you.

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Why Is It So Important to Use a Different Password on Every Site?

I keep hearing that I'm supposed to use a different password on every internet site where I have an account. What a pain! I can't remember all of those passwords. Yeah, I know. You want me to use a password manager thing, but that seems like putting a bunch of really important things into a single basket. What if that basket gets hacked? I use a strong password. Why isn't that enough?

The hacks of several online services have brought this issue to light once again.

I'm sorry, but a single strong password just isn't enough anymore. You must use different strong passwords on every site where you have an account — at least every important site.

And yes, you must devise a way to manage them all.

Let me run down an example scenario that's a cause of all this emphasis on different passwords.

Continue Reading: Why Is It So Important to Use a Different Password on Every Site?

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This Week's Articles

Is a Periodic Password Change a Good Thing?

I read many articles (including some on Ask Leo!) that recommend that people should change their passwords from time to time. But what is good practice in this respect? Should it be related to frequency of use? For instance, some passwords are used frequently, some less often, and some rarely. Or should it be related to the level of security needed? For instance, passwords for online banking are more sensitive than passwords for magazine subscriptions.

Good practice in a corporate environment seems to be to force network and other password changes every 30 days or so. This would seem to be overkill in the home environment as it could result in some accounts being accessed more often to change a password than to do anything else.

Unless you get into a good routine, like when you do data backups, password changes will only get done sporadically, if at all.

Do you have a view on how to build such a good routine?

As you say, routines for things like this are difficult to set up, and if not automated, they are easily forgotten. Automation may be the answer in many cases, but it's not always available – at least not in a convenient form.

But before we even get to that, I want to talk about the “you should change your password periodically” rule of thumb.

I disagree.

Continue Reading: Is a Periodic Password Change a Good Thing?

How Do Outlook and Outlook.com Relate?

I use Outlook.com. Does that mean I don't need Outlook? Are those just other names for the same thing? If not, how do they relate to each other?

The short answer is, they don't relate to each other. Not at all.

They have only two things in common: they're both related to email, and they both have the word “Outlook” in their names.

That's where the similarity ends. It's frustrating, because people often refer to “Outlook” when they mean “Outlook.com”.

Let's define 'em, shall we?

Continue Reading: How Do Outlook and Outlook.com Relate?

How to Diagnose Wi-Fi Signal Strength Issues

I have fiber to the premises, with an ONT box. My PC is wired to a Fritz!Box 7530 modem (no external antennae). When set up 8 months ago, the WiFi signal in the house was strong, but recently I found that the signal is weak. Where should I look for causes, please?

I'll admit I had to look up “ONT”. It's an acronym for “Optical Network Terminal”, which boils down to the fibreoptic equivalent of a modem: it converts fiber-based signals into the electronic signals recognized by your Fritz!Box, which is technically a router, not a modem itself.

Those details out of the way, a few ideas come to mind for why your wireless signal might have degraded over time, as well as a few steps to take to diagnose, or perhaps compensate for, the situation.

Continue Reading: How to Diagnose Wi-Fi Signal Strength Issues

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