Plus How To Remember Your Passwords
During my recent online holiday shopping spree, I encountered the many retail registration web pages that are required to receive discounts, place orders, verify billing information, etc. With that came the dreaded password creation. And while I know I’m not supposed to use the same password for every site, I do fluctuate between only three because I can’t seem to remember more than that. Plus, most websites only allow three password tries before locking out a user. But there was a new password requirement this winter that kept throwing me off of my password game — The Special Character. WHAT? Didn’t our online-passwords-of-old not allow for special characters? NOW WHAT DO I DO?
Creating a Strong Password
After I picked my head up off of my desk, from my password-frustrated face plant, I decided that maybe I can still use one or two passwords, as long as I can create some of the strongest passwords imaginable that meet all current, possible requirements, like:
- Must be eight characters or longer.
- Must include at least one capital letter.
- Must include at least one lower case letter.
- Must include at least one numeral.
- Must include at least one special character.
Next, I brushed up on the don’ts of password creations:
- Don’t use your name or the names of family and pets.
- Don’t use your birthday of the birthdays of family and pets.
- Don’t use your social security number.
- Don’t use your telephone number.
- Don’t use your address.
- Don’t use repetitive or sequential characters (i.e., RRRR or 1234).
I then researched some tips for creating strong passwords from some reputable sources and found that:
- Google says, the longer the password the better.
- Business Insider gives an A+ for misspellings (i.e., Socc3r for Soccer)
- Carnegie Mellon’s School Of Computer Science suggests creating a sentence that only you’ll know and remember, like “I love ice cream,” or “red is my favorite color.” Then you use only the first letter of each word to begin creating your password (i.e. “ilic” or “rimfc”).
- Carnegie Mellon also suggests making up a word by combining two unrelated words, (i.e., book and goat becomes bookgoat).
Working within these parameters, I knew I could create something! Being a writer, I liked the idea of using a unique sentence. Originally, I was going with, “I hate passwords.” Then I remembered how word choice could positively and negatively influence our moods. So I changed it to, “I love passwords.” That still didn’t seem unique enough. Thinking about the reason we need passwords, I chose “passwords keep me safe.”
With my phrase chosen, I deleted the vowels and double letters to create “pswrdskpmsf.” Now I was getting somewhere! I just needed to throw in some capital letters, numbers and special characters (not to begin with a #hashtag, of course). And here it is: 5PswdS!Kp4MSf*
Remembering A Strong Password
One strong password is hard enough to remember. Remembering several strong passwords for different applications may feel nearly impossible. Here are some tips I found helpful for choosing a method to manage passwords in a safe and private manner:
- Be Careful What Your Write Down — My friend keeps a manila folder full of scrap paper with her usernames and passwords written down … the folder is labeled “passwords.” DON’T DO THIS! If you must put it in ink, write a hint to prompt your memory versus the actual password. Keep the paper tucked away in your wallet or somewhere that you will immediately notice if it’s missing.
- Store Passwords In A Safe — Keep a typed list of critical passwords for your bank accounts, mutual funds, retirement accounts, etc., stored in a fireproof safe. Better yet, store them in a safety deposit box at your bank. If you create this list with your computer, do not save the document to any servers or personal hard drives.
- Use A Password Management Software or Mobile App — There are many free password management tools available, including desktop password management software, online password management services, and password management apps for your mobile devices. Check out PC MAGAZINE’S The Best Password Managers for 2015 to learn about your options.
We hope these tips can help you better manage this password-world that we live in. Luckily, you don’t need a password to purchase a new home. If you find yourself house hunting this winter, remember to Ca2PL0me1Tl6ayLoI! — Contact A PrimeLending Mortgage ExpertTo Learn About Your Loan Options In 2016!
*No, 5PswdS!Kp4MSf* is not my real password!
from the PrimeLending blog, by Mandy Jordan