How To Choose Good Passwords


It seems like every single website needs a password now, and you want to use something secure, easy to remember, and something that fits most (if not all) the websites you use so that you don’t have to have a huge list of passwords in a book somewhere, right?

You know who you are.  You have the usernames and passwords to your accounts in your address book right next to the company address and your account number.  (By the way, your lawn needs to be mowed…)

I’m kidding…I’m not a stalker!  But if you read the above and wondered how I know that, you have a serious password problem.

Here are a few thoughts on choosing a password.

  1. Don’t use your name. Or the name of anyone you know.
  2. Don’t use your birthday, anniversary, or the birthdays or anniversaries of anyone you know.
  3. Don’t use your pet’s name, or your friends pet’s name.
  4. Don’t use your social security number, address, or phone number.

Pretty much rules out everything, right?  Nope.  Most websites require at least 4 character passwords, some require 8.  Some require capital letters, some require special characters, and some require that you use numbers.

It’s been my experience that if you choose a password that uses 8 characters, include capitals, lowercase, numbers, and special characters, you can come up with a secure password that will fit almost every site you use.  That doesn’t mean your password should be *lYH92hpi, (unless of course you want it to be), but something along the lines of that is good.

Look around where you are.  Right before my eyes without moving, I see a television, a computer, and a trash can.  Any of these can be made into a great password.  Television becomes T3l3v!s!on, Computer becomes C0m?ut3r, and Trash Can become Tr@5hc@n.  Pretty simple, huh?  And impossible for someone else to guess.  Even if they know the method, they would have to know the object you were thinking of at the exact moment in time you created your password.

Find an object around you, change the letters into numbers and characters they resemble, and change either the first or last letter (or both) to capitals.  It’s easy to remember and it fits all the special password rules.  I have been using this method for years, and have never been hacked.  (I have actually locked myself out, but no one else got in either!!)

Another way to choose a good password is to use one that is sent to you.  Lots of times, companies like credit cards or insurance will send you a temporary password.  Just memorize it.  No one will guess that one either.  I actually have a friend whose password for everything is nickeldoor902, because that is the password AOL sent her when she signed up.  (Don’t worry, the numbers aren’t really 902 – I would never give her away.)  These are random passwords that are generated by a computer to be secure, and as long as you memorize it correctly, you shouldn’t have a security problem.  I like the other way better though because I think it’s easier to remember.

Of course, don’t give your password to anyone, for anything.   And you might want to make up a few good ones.  One for bloggy things, one for financial things, and one for silly things that it doesn’t really matter if someone gets into.  Do you really care if someone gets into your reader account with Better Homes and Gardens?  I know I don’t.

I do, however, have different passwords for different categories of things.  All financials have their own, all magazines and such have their own, social networks have their own, etc.  I have 5 in total.  Yes, I am actually so anal that I categorize my passwords.

Above all, change your passwords frequently, at least every 6 months.  Financial passwords should be changed nearly every month.

Nothing like making your banking password your first name and then wondering why someone drained your account.  That’s about as dumb as leaving your door unlocked and wondering how the burglar got in.

Protect your accounts as you would protect your children.  Identity theft is rampant, and hackers are using computers to figure out how to get into your accounts.

Sometimes, banks and insurance companies will actually blame you if something happens.  They will say you failed to protect your account with a secure password, and therefore you are partially liable for the loss.  Don’t let that happen to you.

It’s really easy to make a decent password.

Make sure your life is secure today.

Hope some of this makes your password picking easier.

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