Last week I talked about the advantages of using a password manager program like LastPass. Click here to reread the post. This week I want to talk about creating a secure, memorable password for that one password you have to remember. If your password contains the name of any of your family members, your phone number, or is on this list, you need to read this post and change your password NOW. Here are some hints for creating a secure password.
- It shouldn’t contain easily guessed personal information such as birthdates, phone numbers, spouse’s name, pet’s name, etc.
- It must be at least 8 characters long.
- It shouldn’t contain words found in the dictionary.
- It should use a variation of upper and lower case letters.
- It should contain special characters such as @#$%^& and/or numbers.
One of the easiest ways to make a strong memorable password is to take a phrase such as Ángel Pagán is a beautiful baseball player. (Don’t tell my Dear Husband!) Reduce it to the first letter of each word
Doesn’t contain any personal information? Check. 8 characters? Nope. Using our list above, it’s too short. So why don’t I use BB for baseball. This would give us
Check off number two. Is it found in the dictionary? Nope. What about upper and lowercase? Gotta change that. How about
On to number 5. “It should contain special characters and/or numbers.” Need to fix that. A capital B looks like the numeral 8, why don’t I just make the B’s for baseball be 8’s
But I still don’t have any special characters. So why don’t I add something. Now how am I going to remember which special character I used. Try to follow my logic here. Pagán without the accent is just pagan. Now I’ve studied a bit of Spanish and a bit of French, and I never can remember which way the accents go. So why don’t I add a “^”? It sort of looks like acute and grave accents combined. I can remember that. Now I have
It meets all the rules above, but in my mind eight or nine characters are too short to be my master password, so I’d add a few more characters or even a random word. Keeping with my baseball theme, I think I’ll add the word herringbone to the end.
Why Herringbone? The stitch used to sew a baseball together looks like a herringbone stitch to me. And it is all about me, after all.
And in case you were wondering, the ampersand reminds me of a treble clef, and the treble clef ”circles” the G line in a musical staff. Remember, the key thing is this password has to be strong AND memorable. And I can remember this! If it’s memorable to me and gobbledygook to you, I’ve succeeded!