Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Making Your Password More Secure Yet Easy To Remember

Welcome to the digital age. We have access to an unprecedented level of electronic conveniences. We can bank on our phones and check directions without looking at a map. We also have dozens of different sites asking us to come up with passwords.

If you use the same password for everything, you can remember it but it's not secure. All someone has to do is figure out your password for that seemingly unimportant site. Suddenly they can access all your sites. If you use different passwords for everything, you have to remember them all. You can't write them down because someone could find it.

I want to pass on some great advice I got on how to come up with a more secure password.  First, never use one of the most common passwords. These include God, password, password1, 123456, iloveyou, and welcome.

Second, you should have a password of at least eight characters. You should also include one capital letter, one lower case letter, one number and one special character.  You should have a unique password for every site you go on. I know this sounds complicated but we are going to simplify it.

First pick two words you can easily remember that go well together and are at least eight letters total.  For this example, we are going to use "hot coffee".  Take your base phrase and add a capital letter. Do not make it the first letter.  For example, "hot coffee" becomes "hoTcoffee".

Now replace one of the letters with a symbol of your choice.  So "hoTcoffee" becomes "h@Tcoffee".  Now replace one digit with a number of your choice. Now "h@Tcoffee" becomes "h@Tcoff3e".   This becomes your base password for everything. This is the only thing you need to remember; just "h@Tcoff3e".

We are not quite done yet. 

Next we are going to make it unique for every website.  You decide that for every website you go on, you will always look at the second and third digit (or first and fourth etc you decide).  For this example, we will use second and third letters of Amazon.com.  That would be "m" and "a".  Stick those two letters right in between your two word phrase. "h@Tcoff3e" becomes  "h@Tmacoff3e".  Now you go to visit Pinterest.com and your password becomes "h@Tincoff3e" because the second and third letters of the website name are "i" and "n".

Set up your basic rule and stick to it.  If you run into a website that won't let you use a special character then just plug whatever letter the word originally called for, right back in.  Soon you will find yourself automatically entering the password just by glancing up at the website address. No password is perfect but this is a big step up from "password1".  And all from hot coffee.

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