Friday, August 29, 2014

Creating a Safe and Secure Password

Lock by Bal Soora
Over the past few weeks I have worked with lots of teachers and one of the things that frustrates them the most is having to remember lots of different passwords. Until about a year ago I had three or four different passwords that I used for everything. That all changed when I read an article that had tips for creating safe, secure, and unique passwords for every site that I access on the web. That is A LOT of passwords to remember!

Fear no more. I'm going to share some tips to help you configure a different password while preserving your sanity. No need to ever write down a password ever again!

First you need to think of some information that is relevant to you. Here are some fictitious examples:

  • Childrens names: Sheldon, Penny, Leonard
  • Birth year: 1975  Year Married: 1998
  • Birth location: San Antonio, Texas
  • First phone number: 629-6264
  • Ideal vacation destination: Italy (It)
Begin by selecting some pieces of this information to create the base for your password. Here are some ideas: 
  • shpele6264! - Used first 2 letters of each name with digits from phone number
  • 1975tex! - Birth year combined with birth state
  • 6264SAT!- Part of phone number combined with airport code for San Antonio
You get the idea. It doesn't matter what you select as long as it is relevant to YOU! Avoid stringing together letters that make up words that are longer than three letters. Some services will not allow you to use passwords that contain words that are 4 letters or longer. You can always substitute characters for letters and numbers. For example: loves would be !ove$. Play it safe and include a special character. Some services require it while others do not. It is easier to use it even if it is not needed then to try to recall multiple passwords. 

Whatever combination you choose will be used with each password you create. To customize it for each different account simply combine it with the first three letters of the service. To make it even safer and compliant with the password requirements make sure at least one letter is capitalized. 

Here is what this could look like for several services using shpele6264 as the base: 
  • Facebook: Facshpele6264! 
  • Twitter: Twishpele6264!
  • Diigo: Diishpele6264!
If you use this method it is absolutely imperative that you do not ever share your password with anyone or leave it written down on a scrap of paper in your desk. If someone figures has your password to one site then they will be able to get into any of your accounts. The reason you create one that is relevant to you is so you do not have to write it down ever again! 

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