What the Tech? Creating strong passwords and ways to remember them
One of the most frustrating things we have to deal with today is the password. We have them for our social media accounts, Apple ID, Amazon, credit cards, mortgage. It isn't unusual for one person to have more than 40 passwords for all of their online accounts.
So what do people do? They often use the same password for every account which is dangerous because if one of the accounts are hacked, the hacker will have the password to all of the others. But it's impossible to have separate passwords for every account and still remember them. If you follow the advice from the Department of Homeland Security and FBI, you'll need passwords that:
- are at least 14 characters in length
- have no common words or phrases
- do not include your name or the names of your children
- be a mixture of uppercase, lowercase letters, numbers and special characters
Using those parameters, 37cnV%*9gHO*@lwZ)(# is a great password. But try doing that for all of your accounts and remember them without writing them down.
Here's a sure-fire way to create and remember difficult passwords that the bad guys will never guess:
First, think of two movie or song titles. I'll use "UpTown Funk" and "We Wish You a Merry Christmas."
We're going to use the songs as a password but we're going to use only a few letters. Let's use the ^ symbol for 'up', and only use the ptFk letters, for the second song we'll use the first letters of each word and capitalize only the "W's" and C for Christmas.
That gives us “^ptFkWWyamC.”
To make it more difficult, let's put another symbol between the song titles. A $. Then on either side of the symbol we'll add a number.
That makes the password: “^ptFk0$3WWyamC.”
That's an excellent password that meets all criteria but you can't use it for everything and you certainly couldn't do it differently for all of your other accounts. So here's the key: a special code.
Add something to the front and back end of the password that helps you remember for the accounts you use. For example, use a capital F at the beginning and a lowercase k at the end for your Facebook login. Use the same system for your Apple ID, credit cards, Amazon account and every other online account you have.
It's a pretty simple system and one I've used for years. Since the passwords will be hard to steal you won't have to change it very often and when you do, just change out the song titles. Give it a try. It's worth doing in order to protect your data