People are lazy. People don’t think that bad things are going to happen to them. People feel safe online. People have a hard time creating memorable passwords, and often create passwords that they cannot remember. These are the conclusions I have come to after thinking about how people handle their online security.
Millions of hacked passwords were analyzed in 2010 to determine that the most common password of those hacked was, …wait for it…Password. In the recent hack of LinkedIn, the number one password hacked was “Link”, just edging out 1234 (there’s a winner!), and the variants 12345, 123456, 1234567, and 654321 all in the top 30.Obviously creating a good password can be a challenge.
So here’s a way to create a password that is really difficult to crack, yet really easy to remember.
- Think of something in your life.
- Create a sentence about it, preferably one that uses a number.
- Use the first letter of each word, and the numeric value of the number to create a password.
For example “When I was 10 I had a red bike” would be Wiw10iharb, a pretty difficult password to guess, unless the person knew you when you were 10, remembered the color of your bike, and knew that you had chosen that phrase to generate your password. Or “I graduated Penn State University in 4 years” generating Igpsui4y as your password.
Both passwords would be considered pretty strong, They are 10 and 8 characters long respectively. They have a mixture of letters and numbers, and the placement of those letters and numbers are not sequential. And we could make them even better by adding a character for example “I hated the Boston Celtics since I was 12” (IhtBCsiw12) would be made even stronger by saying “I hated the Boston Celtics & the LA Lakers since I was 12” (IhtBC&tLALsiw12) And either password would make me a 76ers fan, very happy 🙂
The possibilities are endless, and that is the strength of the password generator. Of course no password is truly impossible to crack, and the theft of passwords from LinkedIn and Sony, and numerous other sites is a strong recommendation for having several passwords rather than (as many people do) having one password you use all the time. But using this simple password generating trick will go a long way to making your online interaction safer.