Creating One Best Password for All Your Online Sites
© 2010 by Aurelio Locsin.
We’re all guilty of this sin, even though it can condemn us to the hell of identity theft. But how also do you cope with hundreds of sites that require password protection. I’m talking about using the same password over and over again. This actually works great, until somebody guesses that secret. Then, the thieves start posting under our names, ruining our carefully-honed reps.
Prevent this horror by crafting an easy-to-remember password that is hard to guess but transforms from site to site:
- Write down an easy-to-remember sentence that contains at least seven words, mixes uppercase and lowercase letters, and contains numbers. Longer phrases are better. Here are some examples:
My mom Alice was number 3 out of 5 kids.
Our townhouse in St. Cloud, Minnesota has 3 bedrooms, 2 baths and 0 fireplaces.
Aunt Dora’s recipe for Perfect Pancake starts with 3 cups of flour.
Stay away from easy-to-guess items such as your initials, common initials such as IBM or CNN, birthdate, phone number, house number, Social Security Number or important historical dates. Password-cracking programs automatically use such combinations. Some combos you can try include the following:
Description of your first pet length and weight.
Details of your first date with a specific person.
A phrase from your high school or college diploma.
Location, population and size of your least favorite city.
Details from your first sexual encounter.
- Take the first letter of each word, capitalized properly, and the numbers, and put them together without spaces or punctuation. (Though some sites accept punctuation marks as part of the password, many do not.) This combination will be your base password as in the following examples:
Remembering this base will be difficult at first, but made easier by the phrase you originated. You can even write that phrase in some convenient place, as long as you don’t tell anyone what that phrase is for. Mix that writing up with other irrelevant phrases, just to confuse anybody who may discover your writing.
- Create a unique password for a website, by combining the first and third letter of the site name. Put that combo at either the start or end of the base password. You may make those site letters uppercase, lowercase or some combination of the two. However, you must be consistent with capitalization and letter placement for all your passwords or you’ll forget them. Here are some examples of site names using the three previous base passwords.
Hubpages (start): HbMmAwn3o5k
Gmail (end): OtiSCMh3b2ba0fga
Amazon (start): AaADrfPPsw3cof
You can use any combination of letters and positions of the site name as long as you do it consistently. For example, you could use the last and first letters, in that order; the second and fourth letters; or the last three letters.
You now have an easy-to-remember password that is hard to guess and unique for each site. Let me know what you think of this method in comments.
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