Monday 07 April, 2014

Internet Security Basics – How to Create Excellent Passwords with the Songs Running through Your Head

The key to effective internet security is to create strong passwords and change them often. This is your frontline of defense against people gaining access to any accounts you keep. If you come up with good passwords and change them often, your system is virtually airtight.

The only trouble is that it’s hard to create passwords and remember them. This is especially the case since recently systems demand that your password contain not only letters, but letters in both cases and numbers. You basically have to come up with something totally random and impossible to remember.

But here’s a great method I use today to create and remember passwords, and it works really well for me.

Turn on Your Radio

Obvious things make terrible passwords. You should never use the names of your kids or pets, or something as simple as your birthday. If you do, it’s really easy for someone to crack your password and gain access.

The best way I’ve found to create strong but memorable passwords is to use a song title. You can turn on the radio or, even better, use a song that’s stuck in your head right now. If it’s already stuck in your head, it’ll be easier to remember (although you could also jot down a note to remind yourself).

For example, let’s say that you’re listening to the Rolling Stones. You could choose streetfightingman or paintitblack as your password. Remember that the longer the phrase, the stronger it is (although it’s tougher to type).

Case and Number

But what about the fact that you need both upper and lower case and numbers? There’s an easy way to add these to your password. Actually, there are probably many ways, but here’s what works for me.

For the cases, I’ll choose a letter or two somewhere in the title and capitalize. To take the above example, I might make it streetfightingmAn. It’s less secure to make the first letters of words titles, like StreetFightingMan. I usually choose which letter to capitalize based on how easy it is to type.

Then, I turn a few letters into numbers. I try to make it obvious (to myself). I might make it something like: str33tfightingmAn. For “Paint It Black,” I might make it something like 9aintiTblack.

Another idea is to just tack numbers on at the end. For example, you might make it something like streetfightingman77, although this method is slightly less secure.

Change Passwords Often

This method works well for me because these passwords are memorable. It also works well because you have to change them often. You can use the same song title, but switch up the cases or numbers. Or you can just turn on the radio again and let the song playing be your password.

Give it a try and experiment with this method until you have your own way of doing it. And make changing passwords a regular part of your routine.

Bob Steele

Bob Steele is an entrepreneur, software developer, marketer, and author living in the Denver metropolitan area. He’s an avid outdoorsman who loves skiing, hiking, fishing, boating, and just plain having fun. His interests include games, space, technology, physics, cooking (well eating actually), economics, business, internationalism, and team sports. With over thirty years of professional consulting experience, Bob has been exposed to many diverse business models and has gained a sensible approach to life. Bob’s company, WaveCentric is focused on commerce, marketing, and entertainment related products.

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