This article is a little long but please take the time to read it and leave a comment or two. We’d love to hear from you.
How do you make your passwords cryptic, hard to crack and yet easy to remember?
Here is one way….
First, most sites give you at least three tries to type your password correctly before they lock your account. So, you need to craft three passwords that you use on various accounts. Use the three passwords in a definite order so that you can make sure you are using all three. That way if someone does guess one, or rather if a password cracking program does guess one, they won’t have the ability to get into all of your accounts.
Secondly, the password should be at least 15 characters long. Some will debate this but the longer the password the harder it is for a password cracking program to get it. (Unfortunately, some systems won’t allow one this long. In such case, make it as long as allowed.)
Thirdly, ideally it should contain UPPER case letters, lower case letters, numbers and at least one symbol, i.e. #,%, etc and no English words.
Here is a sample of a very cryptic long password: AegE6W8@x4GENQ4D (Please do not copy and paste this password since this is on a public site.)
But you may argue, how could I possibly ever memorize that password and isn’t writing it down a mistake? Yes, one should never write down their passwords. (I know many of you reading this have done that very thing and perhaps have it taped to your PC somewhere or under the keyboard!)
Never fear The Computer Guy is here! (Sorry…I just had to do that. My apology to Underdog!)
Here is a way…
Think of your favorite actor and your favorite movie starring that actor. For example, you may like Nicholas Cage. And then you might think Con Air was your favorite of his movies. So, then you use “Nicholas Cage Con Air” as your password. That is 21 characters. But wait… you say. That has no numbers, no odd characters and is all English words. Why you are correct. So, here is what you do:
“Nicholas Cage Con Air” becomes….
“N1ch0las Cag3 C0n A1r”
Above we have substituted a “1” for an “I,” then a “0” for an “o” (Zero for “o”) and a “3” for the “e.”)
If your site doesn’t allow spaces, just leave them out. This would be easy to remember and would eventually become easy to type.
If you want to add one level of complexity to the system, substitute “@” for the letter “a,” or a “$” for the letter “S.”
Using this system you can easily come up with your favorite Actor, Actress, Artist, Group, Teacher etc. and have a very secure password.
We would not suggest one actor and three different movies, etc., but even that may work and is much better than your pet, child, niece, nephew etc.
My last bit of advice, make sure someone you trust with your financial security or someone you trust with your life, knows your login names and passwords, especially your banking password so that should you die or become incapacitated, your stuff isn’t locked up! This applies even to your social network accounts so that your account can be deactivated or removed. Social Networking sites are really strict about this. A few years ago, a dear friend died suddenly and unexpectedly. It took a couple of weeks to get FB to change the account to a Memorial Wall since we did not have the credentials. And, if your social networking account cannot be deactivated or changed to a memorial, then the only way for you to keep that friend’s account from showing up is to UNfriend them. Trust me, it just doesn’t feel right to UNfriend a true friend simply because their journey in this life is over. I have had this happen more than once.
Lastly, you should absolutely turn on a feature called “Multi-factor Authentication,” or “Two-Factor Authentication” for any account you have…even social networking accounts. What is MFA or TFA? It simply tells your provider that any time you attempt to log in to an account on a device you don’t normally use, that it send a unique code to your cell phone via TEXT or to your email account. You are then required to key that code in before the system will let you in. In theory, if someone does obtain your password(s) they still cannot access your accounts without having your phone too. (Yes, if they have your phone this weakens the security but hopefully if your phone is lost or stolen the first thing you do is tell your phone provider to disable your account.)
Dennis “AegE6W8@x4GENQ4D” Wilson
Head Computer Guy
The Computer Guys LLC
Dennis @ TheComputerGuysLLC.com
Google+ Profile: http://tinyurl.com/Dennis-TCG
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