>>Back to Articles Home
To gain access to many important areas, you need a
password. Even though passwords are a necessity in our digital lives,
passwords are weak or insecure or too simple to figure out.
Often hackers and intruders enter computer systems
simply by guessing passwords or by using dictionaries and mathematical
calculations. If a difficult to crack password was the only criteria,
you might select a 20-character combination such as:
*d9W>z&gY3k7![pS$f8R but would you ever remember this?
It is important, then, to learn strategies for
creating strong, effective, and easy to remember passwords.
1. Avoid the Obvious
Don't make the mistake of creating passwords that
are based on personal information, your login ID, or are simple to guess
2. Make It Longer
One of the features of a strong password is that it
is at least 8 characters in length and it should be a combination of
mixed-case letters with the addition of numbers and punctuation where
3. Vanity Plates
How many times have you been driving behind a car
with a vanity plate? Were the characters cryptic but easy to decipher?
Have you seen these plates?
CUL8TR (see you later)
LV2XLR8 (love to accelerate)
HAPE2GLF (happy to golf)
Consider an easy to remember phrase that can be
expressed without complete words and with a combination of mixed case
letters as well as numbers and symbols:
dRkCh0co4me (use a zero in place of the letter O)
Have some fun making up combinations of phrases
that have meaning to you but that would not be easy for other people to
4. Song Lyrics
Think of a favorite song lyric, book, or poem. The
more obscure your choice, the better. Next, create a password from a
combination such as the 1st letter of each word of the phrase. Some
hacker dictionaries have common songs and phrases built in, and so, you
will want to strengthen your password by adding in other characters or
personalizing the song in some way. For instance: "Rudolph the red-nosed
reindeer had a very shiny nose," might become r1trNr2Xhavsn.
You want to avoid obvious geek phrases, of course,
such as "Luke, I am your father" or "Beam me up Scotty."
Choose 5 or more random words and string them
together to create a nonsense phrase. For greater strength, use a
downloadable program such as Diceware that helps you generate word
combinations from your throw of multiple dice.
6. Blended Words
String together 3 or more totally unrelated words
by breaking apart and re-combining the parts of each word. For instance,
combining the words
LIME PUPPY might result in
7. Annoy Lurkers
Do use a password that can be typed quickly,
without having to look at the keyboard. This makes it harder for someone
to steal your password by looking at your keyboard (also known as
"lurking" or "shoulder surfing"). Do not use keyboard sequences or
characters found together such as QWERTY.
These 7 strategies will enable you to choose and
create strong passwords that will help improve the security of your
© Dawn Bjork Buzbee, MCT, The Software Pro®
Dawn Bjork Buzbee
is The Software Pro®
and a Microsoft Certified Trainer (MCT) as well as a certified Microsoft Office
Specialist (MOS) Master Instructor, certified Microsoft Applications Specialist
(MCAS) Instructor, and a certified Microsoft Office expert. Dawn shares smart
and easy ways to effectively use software through her work as a software
speaker, trainer, consultant, and author of 8 books.
This article and
more can be reprinted at no charge in your publications and website with
copyright and attribution.
more about how easy it is to share these valuable tips, tricks, and techniques.
What are the Top 10 Password
More Smart & Easy Software Tips, Tricks &
Techniques for You
<<Back to Articles