Creating Secure, Easy to Remember Passwords
Website security is a serious issue, and although the bulk of the responsibility in securing the site rests with the website operator, one important aspect is left to the end-user, that being the chore of choosing a password
As the creator of a trivia site which accepts user registrations, I have seen a lot of bad passwords and dealt with numerous members who have forgotten their password, username and even email address.
I want to show you how you can create a good secure password that's easily remembered and which can be adapted for use on multiple sites with little compromise in security.
It may surprise you to hear, that some of the most common passwords in use today are as follows...
- password1 (as used by the more security conscious)
As you can see, as bad as these passwords are, they do share one thing in common. They are easy to remember.
Unfortunately, being easy to remember is not typically a good thing when it comes to choosing a password.
What makes a good password
A good mix of characters
You should be making use of the full keyboard you have in front of you and not just relying on letters or numbers. This means using both uppercase and lowercase letters, numbers and additional characters such as (-) Dash, (_) Underscore, ($) Dollar and (*) Asterisk amongst others.
The more characters the better
The more characters you use, the more difficult it would be for a computer to crack your password. Recent research into passwords has shown that the average password length is eight characters. Therefore I would suggest you use at least 9, to keep ahead of the pack
No dictionary words
It's easy for a computer to cycle through an entire dictionary of words in a attempt to crack a password, whereas a random arrangement of characters poses a much greater problem.
This will include using pets names, celebrities names, band names or tv show or movie titles. These are all easily guessed by the people around you who know you well
Keep it Unique
Ideally, you should use a different password for every site you join.
How can I have a secure password that I can remember ?
Creating and remembering a single secure password is easy. The problem arrises when we try to remember dozens of different passwords for different sites.
So how do we get around this problem? Well, what if we reuse the same secure password, but modify it in some way for each site we visit.
Supose we have a password like (jKf54-d6P11), it's a decent password of 11 characters long. Now if we joined the site "Hub Pages", we could take the initials of the site, in this case the "H" and the "P" and incorperate that into our password. To produce something like (jKf54HP-d6P11). Notice that I inserted the changes as the 6th and 7th characters.
Then if we also joined a site named "Purple Monkey Pages", we could generate the password (jKf54PMP-d6P11), using the initials "P", "M" and "P". Notice again that the new characters are inserted in the same position as before, beginning at the 6th character.
As you can see, by simply remembering our initial complex password, we can adapt it to be unique on additional sites, without having to remember a new password.
A few important notes
- You must always adapt the password in the same position. In our example we always added the initials at the 6th character position of our password. Otherwise, you'd need to remember the different position in each password which would defeat the purpose of using this method.
- You don't have to use the initials of the website to adapt your password. Instead you could use the last letter of each word, so for "Hub Pages" you'd use "b" and "s". Or use something else entirely. The important thing here again is to be consistent.
- As mentioned at the top of this article. Using this method is a small compromise between security and ease of use. This method is not suitable for use on websites where high security is extremly important. Such as banks, Paypal, email accounts etc. These sites should have their own 100% unique password. It is however perfectly suited for social networks, forums and other such sites where security is important but not critical.
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