We have just rolled out support for Bitcoin transactions when paying for your premium subscription. Enjoy!!
Hands up how many of you use the same password for more than one website? How many of you use the same password for most or all websites?
Hands up how many of you use your actual email address when signing up for websites?
If you raised your hand for either or both of these, we need to talk.
Let’s say you sign up for a website, and you give them your email address (perhaps a gmail account), and then give them a password that happens to be the same as your gmail password. It is now trivial for them to hack your Gmail account and spam your friends.
Even if you only sign up for reputable websites, they can be hacked, as happened recently with Gawker. Anyone who used the same password both for their email and for Gawker was immediately exposed, and their email address probably found its way onto hundreds of spammers mailing lists.
Additionally, let’s say you use several passwords (my previous approach). You then run into the problem that you often forget which password you used where, so you have to try several of them (potentially revealing all your passwords to an unscrupulous website).
Another annoyance is that some websites have weird requirements for passwords, often they must be at least 8 characters in length, and contain a mixture of letters and numbers. If your default passwords don’t meet these criteria then often you have to modify them somehow, or pick new passwords entirely, and then of course you can never remember which variations you used for particular websites.
So what to do? A simple approach I use, which isn’t foolproof, but which is a big improvement over what most people do, is to base my password in some way on the domain of the website I’m visiting.
For example, let’s say you are coming up with a password for plentyoffish.com. One approach you might take is to start with the last 4 letters of the main part of the domain in reverse order, capitalizing the final one. And then add an additional 4 characters that you’ll always remember – ideally a combination of letters and numbers. Here are some example passwords following this scheme (using “5yty” as the final 4 characters in each case):
While initially it might take you a few seconds to figure out the appropriate password for any given website, with a little practice it quickly becomes second-nature.
The good thing about a password scheme like this is that these passwords will meet the criteria of even the most fussy websites, because they are 8 characters in length, I’ve never seen a website that required more than 8 character passwords. Additionally, the passwords contain a mixture of upper and lower case characters, and numbers.
Now please don’t copy the exact approach I describe here. Perhaps instead of taking the last 4 characters of the domain, take the 2nd, 4th, last, and 2nd last – or something like that. It doesn’t matter, so long as you remember it.
Of course a weakness of this approach is that someone looking at your password for their site might be able to reverse engineer your system, but this involves a lot more work on their part than if you use the same password everywhere.
If you are concerned about this you could make your system more difficult to reverse engineer by, say, incrementing the letters you take from the domain name, so “abcD” becomes “bcdE”. Of course, this is at the cost of making it more difficult to figure out the appropriate password for an appropriate domain.
And what about having to give websites your real email address? Simple! Don’t give them your real email address!
33Mail gives you your own domain, like @john.33mail.com. Next time you visit a website that asks for your email address, instead of giving them your real email address, just make one up especially for them. For example, if the website is blahblah.com, you might give them firstname.lastname@example.org.
You don’t need to do anything else, 33Mail will create an alias automatically the first time they try to send you an email, and we’ll forward any emails they send to you.
Later, if blahblah.com start to send you emails you don’t want, or even if they sell your email address to a spammer, just click on the link that we add to the top of every email we forward, 33Mail will kill their alias, and they won’t bother you any more.
PS. You’ll also be able to figure out which website sold your email address so that you can warn other people!
We have invested in a new domain for 33mail users to play with namely 33m.co. You can now create your 33mail addresses @<username>.33m.co which will save you from typing 4 characters every time you use a 33mail address (unless, that is, you use the 33mail bookmarklet or the 33mail chrome extension). That’s a massive 40% saving for your fingertips, and will surely add to your keyboards longevity.
Cue the landrush for one and 2 character usernames, I assure you there are some still available.
We have just released the initial version of the 33Mail Chrome extension here.
The main purpose of this extension is to make creating a 33mail alias as simple as possible. Whenever you visit a site and the extension detects an email address signup field it will automatically fill in an appropriate 33mail alias saving you the trouble of doing all that typing. You can also choose to have it not auto-fill the email address fields and rather only fill it when you click on the handy button in your browser bar.
We already find the extension very useful and hope that our users do too. We would love to hear your feedback and feature requests for the extension so leave a comment here or on the extension page here.
Based on conversations with our users, we’ve decided to drop the number of referrals required for a free year of our Premium service from 5 to just 2!
All you need to do is to make sure that your friends sign up using your referral link, which you can find at the bottom-right of your dashboard page.
So what are you waiting for?! Time to start evangelizing!
We have just deployed a new dashboard home page is now live with what we hope is a clearer explanation of how to use 33mail along with some css3 rounded corner goodness (note that Internet Explorer users will be stuck with square corners until Microsoft gets its act together).
We hope to deploy further widgets to the dashboard page in future to give at a glance useful information such as bandwidth usage and most used aliases. Any feedback on the new layout, good or bad would be much appreciated.
Finally I have gotten around to setting up the 33mail blog. The main purpose of which will be to inform users of new features and to keep everyone informed about the 33mail service in general. I will of course also use it to rant about various things that come into my head once in a while.