Can You Create a Secure Password?

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Recently I told you several things that you need to know about passwords. Today I’ll give you step by step instructions on how to make a strong, secure password that will meet requirements and that you will eventually remember. Trust me, you CAN remember them.

The sentence method:

Open up a program on your computer that you can free-flow type in. That’s most likely to be a word-processing program or text editor like notepad, but if you really love Excel, you can use that.

Type a sentence with as many words in it as you need for characters. You may not have a specified length, but if you do, that is how long the sentence needs to be. The sentence needs to make sense to you, but it doesn’t need to be true.  Here’s an example: As Alice fell deeper and deeper down the rabbit hole she began to wonder where she might come out. Nineteen words; if you can remember that sentence, you have the start of a strong password. Type the sentence until you can do it without looking.

Reduce the words to initial letters: AAfdaddtrhsbtwwsmco.

Find letters that can be changed to characters and numbers. Your password requirements may call for some creativity in exchanging. Here’s one possibility:  A@fd&ddtrh$b2wwSmc0.

Type this series if characters over and over, repeating the sentence as you type it, until you can type it quickly without looking at the previous line.
If you need a reminder, you can write the sentence out, but you shouldn’t need to write the password itself once you have been able to type it several times without looking at the characters.

The phrases method:

I had one password  requirement once that needed an exact number of characters, a certain number of digits, a certain number of non alpha-numeric characters, no consecutive repeating characters, first character must be alpha; this was rough! But I was able to come up with a method that worked.
Someone’s first and last name; two words about them; a two-digit number about them; and a characteristic about them.

Arthur Frederickson; school friend; 12; football.

I’m going to use dashes for the non-alpha characters; so we go AF-sf-12-fo0tbal

If you need to change passwords periodically, you can swap out what gets capitalized; incrementally increase the digit; swap out different characters for the dashes. But this will create a nice, strong password that you can remember without writing it down.

Multiple words

Since the password cracking software looks first for words that are in the dictionary, combining several words into one long word can create a strong password, like these:

You can do it!

Once you get the hang of one of these methods, you can combine them in any way that works for you. Remember from the last post, you don’t want to use the same password in a bunch of different places. Going about it this way, you shouldn’t need to.You will still need a method to keep track of which one you use where, and you can find ideas for that that in the previous post.

Let me know if you’ve tried these, or other methods that worked for you. Share what you have learned with others.

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