Passwords are a necessary evil that we cannot escape and, as we have pointed out again and again, you are responsible for creating and remembering/storing all of the passwords you use. As recently as March 31, in the article Online Security Begins or Ends With Your Choice of Password, we provided readers with some frightening data about “consumer password worst practices” and explained the idea of strong passwords. In that post, and several others before it, we provided some tips on creating strong passwords, but only skimmed the surface of possibilities.
Today, sparked by a recent article on Lifehacker.com, I will share with you a list of methods that you can use to create strong passwords. These methods are taken from sites all over the web and are merely suggestions on how you can protect yourself from crimes like identity theft. Before you jump down to the list, remember that EVERY password you use should follow these rules:
- Length – 8 or more characters are the minimum. 14 or more are ideal.
- Complexity – The greater the variety of characters, the better. Use the entire keyboard.
- Easy to remember, hard to guess – Make it something you can remember, but others can’t guess easily (definition slightly modified from previous posts)
- Avoid the Dictionary – Do not use words found in the dictionary, proper names, etc. Hackers have software programs that use these words first.
- Use a Different Password for Each Site – This is difficult to do, but worth your efforts. If someone gets your password for one site, it would be very easy for them to view your browser history and have access to your personal information all over the web.
METHOD 1: Consonants and Vowels
From the site Sabahan.com, we found this trick: “Choose a base password and combine it with the first two consonants and the first two vowels of the domain name. If your base password is QWER, for mail.yahoo.com the first two consonants are ML and first two vowels are AI, so your password would be QWERMLAI”
METHOD 2: Shift Your Fingers
From the article that inspired this post, Adam Pash writes “If you want a secure password without having to remember anything complex, try shifting your fingers one set of keys to the right. It will make your password look like gibberish, will often add in punctuation marks, and is quick and simple.”
EXAMPLE: password becomes [sddeptf
METHOD 3: Static + Changeable
In an article on linux-tip.net titled Choosing a Secure Password – The Linux-Tip Approach, the author suggests a 2-part password made up of a static part and a changeable part. For added security, make sure the static part contains upper case letters, lower case letters and special characters.
EXAMPLE: static part = BA-Bitso55 | changeable part = ebay (just for use on ebay.com)
So this user’s password on ebay is: BA-Bitso55ebay
METHOD 4: Math and Phonetics
TheGeekProfessor.com has a few ideas on password components that I have modified slightly to create this method. Use a math equation you can remember, but spell some of the numbers phonetically to add letters and complexity.
EXAMPLE: 2+5=7 becomes Two+5=Seven
There are hundreds, maybe even thousands, of concepts and methods out there. If you like the ideas presented above, but want something a little different, try a quick Google search for keywords like secure, strong, passwords, tricks and/or security.