Death, Taxes & Passwords

$hjV8K9a5h! – Look familiar? You’ve seen this before, you’ve used this before, and you have against all odds tried to remember it before. The days of passwords as such of these are should be behind us. However, they still haunt us.  It’s your Wifi password, your company mandated 12 character, special character, capital letter required password, or even your Facebook login. Time to throw away the sticky notes, here are the essentials to creating a memorable and secure password.

Toss out the “password”

The term password is overused, antiquated and a security nightmare. We have been conditioned to use passwords that contain a jumbled incoherent mess of numbers letters and special characters.  It’s far more difficult to remember a single string of numbers and letters with no natural breaks. Instead of a string of random numbers and letters think of 3 or 4 words and push them together, we’ll call it a passphrase.
Ex. TheJungleIs2Wet! , 10ThingsihateaboutFood!

Make it rhyme

Ever wonder why you could remember that poem, that catchy sales jingle and the hundreds of lyrics to countless songs. It’s not just because of the rhythm, it’s easier to remember things that rhyme. Make your passphrase rhyme.
Ex. 1Sunday2Funday! , LetsShake&Bake?

Stop using the same password

You aren’t doing yourself any favors by using the same password for every single system you log into.  You love your dog, but “Benji1977” is not a great password to use for your online banking and your CVS rewards account. Not only is using the same password for multiple accounts a security risk, you become far too reliant on remembering one type, or several variations of one password. This will make it far more difficult on yourself come password expiration season. Using several, exclusive and very different passphrases will keep you secure and help train your mind to remember a multitude of different passphrases.

Don’t set it and forget it

When you meet someone new for the first time, it’s best practice to use their name as many times as possible within that first conversation to bind it to memory. Why don’t we use the same philosophy with our passwords?  Next time you change your password, instead of logging in once then going about your business. Log in four or five times, help yourself commit that password to memory within that system. You’ll thank yourself the next time you have to log in and dont need to click the “Forgot my password” link.

If all else fails…

You can cave and use a password management service. While these often eliminate the hassle and need to remember multiple passwords, they can be exploited and can make you far too reliant on the service.  Remember the story about the eggs and a basket?

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