What the Tech: Good passwords

What the Tech

This won’t be the first or last time you hear someone say “check your passwords.” That’s for 2 exceptionally good reasons:

  1. It’s the best way bad guys steal your account login information and identities
  2. It’s very common for computer users to use poor passwords and maybe the same poor password for multiple accounts.

It’s the best way bad guys steal your account login information and identities. It’s very common for computer users to use poor passwords and maybe the same poor password for multiple accounts.

The reason people use bad passwords is simple: it’s difficult to come up with passwords that live up to the suggestions of security experts.

Passwords should be 11 or more characters, a mixture of letters, numbers, and special characters, no common words, no repetitive characters, and a mixture of lower-case and upper-case letters.

Even if you come up with an amazing password that meets the criteria, it’s virtually impossible to do the same thing for every account. So many people, if not most, use the same password for Facebook that they use for LinkedIn, email, Google, bank, and credit cards.

Here is a password secret to help you set a different and dynamic password for each account that you can remember.

Come up with two songs or movie titles. For our purposes here I’ll choose, Beauty and the Beast and The Spy Who Loved Me.

We’ll use those two movie titles as the basis for our super-strong passwords. Take the first letter of each word in those two movies: BATBTSWLM.

To meet one criterion of a mixture of upper and lower case letters, we’ll make the letters for the second movie lowercase: BATBtswlm.

To add a special character use the “$” in between the two titles: BATB$tswlm.

Add a number by replacing the “A” with the number 8: B8TB$tswlm.

Add another special character at the end like a hashtag: B8TB$tswlm#.

That’s a pretty strong password but we don’t want to use the same one for every account.

Here’s the secret: use a special code to remember each account such as the first two letters of the account or website name. For your Facebook account, the password would be B8TB$tswlm#fa. For Gmail, it would be
B8TB$tswlm#gm, and so on.

Of course, you can come up with your own system and special code to help you remember, but it works. After a few weeks of using your special password and system, you’ll be able to remember each one.

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