Password creation!

In my experience, password resets are one of the most frequent annoyances to people. They don’t have to be, and I’m going to give you some tricks to create good passwords, remember them but more importantly, how to pick new ones!

A few things to think about when creating a password. The mixture of characters(!#%!#_$^#), numbers (64654498), letters (oiuwe) and capitals (CLEUX) is essential to creating difficult to break passwords. It’s unavoidable, so we may as well accept that our passwords should be complex, meaning they contain a combination of at least 3 out of 4 characters types(characters,  numbers, letters, capitals). And they should be 8 characters in length, or longer.

I know, your eyes are glazing over already, aren’t they? Its ok, I agree that these ‘restrictions’ require that we give passwords a bit of thought before we create them. This is a really good thing! Instead of thinking about the ‘requirements’ as ‘restrictions’, use the password creation process as a fun way to keep your websites and digital service accounts more secure. You don’t want your identity stolen or someone that hates you posting on your Facebook page or emailing all your family and friends a virus, do you?

The couple of tricks I have for you are pretty simple, but they do take some practice for you to be able to create excellent passwords, quickly. My approach is a variation of the pass-phrase concept, which is a longer type of password used for higher levels security.

One trick is to create one, two, or three short, complex min-passwords. These should be 4-8 characters in length and, as mentioned above, be complex to contain 3 of the 4 character types(just use all 4, its not that hard). These mini-passwords should not contain any words! This is very important!  More on how these mini-passwords will be used, in a moment.

First, lets talk about other parts of your password. Having a set of 2-4 numbers added to all passwords is a must. Figuring out of way to pick numbers that you’ll remember, but also numbers that will change, can be tough. My advice is to use a type of number, rather than a specific set of numbers, as your number part of the password. What do I mean? Maybe you’ve had old phone numbers that you could use or parts of old license plates. You could use the numeric form of ages, dates, times, or literally any other value that can be expressed in a 2-4 digit number. The possibilities truly are endless. You can use the numbers the same every time, mixed up or backwards. The point is, must like solving a puzzle, you should know how you’re going to create your password by following some specific steps. Another similarity to puzzles is that, once you’ve mastered a puzzle, you can repeat it with ease.

So far, I’ve asked you to think about two parts to your password: a short set of numbers, and a some short mini-password. Next, we’re going to add a third part to our password because three is a party, right? This unique part is going to be based on the program, website, or service you are creating the password for. Pick some detail about the website, or service, and use it. This could be any word or number on their website. It could be the owner’s name, or a page title, and even a phone number. Try to pick something short, 3-5 characters.

Next, think about a format in which you’d like to create your passwords. My format, I mean the arrangement of the parts of your password. If you follow all of my suggestions, even if someone figures out what format you use it’s incredibly unlikely they would be able to guess your password. Things you should think about, specifically, is the order the different parts of your password will be placed in.  Don’t worry, it will all make sense, shortly.

Once you have a few mini-passwords and number created, you’re ready to create some great passwords!  Here’s what you do: Combine your mini-password and number to create your password-root. This will be the core of your password from which new, unique passwords will be created. Simply take this root and add the unique part. And, voila, you’ve cooked up one nice, secure password.

Now, any time you need to update your password, simply change cycle one part of the password with another. For instance, change two numbers or use a differnet mini-password. You could also, pick a new unique-part, and leave the rest alone.

With a little practice, you’ll be creating shiny new passwords and leaving those old ones in the dust without ever looking back.