Here’s a few tips about passwords.
- Use hard to guess or hack passwords. See examples below.
- Always use a different password on every website. One dishonest webmaster can ruin your whole life if he has access to all your accounts using your ‘favorite’ password.
- Never use personal information as a password or password ‘hint’. Sarah Palin learned that the hard way when her Yahoo email account was allegedly hacked.
- Really good password, hard to guess or crack using hacking software: M3(1}RhZ*[P2L0 (But dang hard to remember)
- Really bad password, easy to guess, hardly an effort for hacking software: DogSoup3 (But easy to remember!)
So what’s a person to do? Well, one method is using a password manager program such as PINs (http://www.mirekw.com/winfreeware/pins.html) or LockBox by Coffee Cup Software (http://www.coffeecup.com/lockbox/). These programs reside on your computer, protected by one master password, and contain all your other passwords. You can also use them to hold other personal data such as bank account and insurance numbers.
But what about the master password? Or maybe you only had one or two websites that you log on to, and don’t want all the trouble of a password manager.
Here’s a method to make a fairly secure password, that’s also easy to remember. Take the first line of a phrase, poem, song, or any sentence that you can remember exactly. Use the first letter of each word, and the punctuation to create your password. Don’t write the password down! You should use a phrase that you know by heart, but if you are afraid you’ll forget, write down the entire phrase, but don’t stop with the first line. And don’t label it ‘password’ or what it is for, just put it in a drawer somewhere out of sight where you’ll know what it is, but no one else will. Use a different phrase for each website where you have an account!
Therefore, I pledge allegiance to the Flag of the United States of America, and to the Republic for which it stands:
By using punctuation and capitals you’ve got a 22 character password that’s very secure and easy to remember. Even a password half as long, 10 or 11 pseudo-random characters is much better than any real word or word combination.
Oh, and please don’t use my example above! Hackers make lists of ‘example’ passwords from articles such as this, and try them first.