Every now and then, I’ll get a call from a friend out whose having computer issues. At times, its a quick and easy fix but other times, the fastest method is to bring the computer to factory state–essentially starting over. I always ask them to set a password afterwards but recently I’ve been hearing some rather weak passwords. Some examples include birthdates, pet’s name, colors, middle names–relatively easy to guess passwords. This may appear insignificant for a local user account on Windows or OS/X but then I remembered reading an article which described that people tend to repeat the same patterns when forming passwords–even using the same password across several websites (proven by the Gawker media accounts hack)! It’s even more staggering, the number of people that choose ‘password’ as their password.
For me, all of my passwords are photo-formed. That is, I memorize the movements on the keyboard, not necessarily the characters of the passwords. In fact, I don’t know any of my passwords unless, I have access to a keyboard which may or may not be a good thing. Looking more into my “unusual” method, I’ve determined that it actually builds strong passwords without me having to do much alterations for multiple websites.
Break it apart to make it stronger
A password using my approach will involve three short steps to be created. First pick an unusual keyword, perhaps “azure.” It means sky blue and its not a word you hear very often. Second, take the first letter of the website that you are planning on creating an account for. Third, end with some numbers.
By combining the above steps, for lorenzocaum.com we could form the password ‘azurelc12.’ You could repeat step two for different sites in which you create accounts. Additionally, you can even change the order entirely but as you can see ‘azurelc12’ is far stronger password than ‘toby.’
Make passwords even stronger
You can make your password even stronger by using alpha-numeric characters such as #, !, or $. Additionally, you can cluster your passwords for the type of websites and easily remember them by using specific keywords–perhaps ‘azure’ for social networking sites and ‘zappy’ for financial websites. Finally, be sure you change your passwords every couple of months and don’t reuse any.