Introduction: Passwords, and How to Manage Them

At work I have to use several passwords:
Network log-on, which periodically tells me that my password will expire in 14 days and would I like to change it now? Why? If it needs changing tell me to change it, why ask me if I'd like to do it 14 days in a row?
Oracle log-on
Oracle upload form log-on
NHS Supply Chain log-on

And outside of work:
Web-mail
Instructables
various others

Password security can be important, some systems will annoy you by insisting that your passwords are (this long) and alphanumeric, and "no you can't have that one because you already used it in the last 365 days"

They do it because poor passwords can be a security risk

Here is a short guide on how to choose good passwords, and remember them

Step 1: Pick a Password

I spent 11 months crunching invoices for a large chain of builder's merchants. Every day I'd see the same ten alphanumeric account codes: they're long enough, alphanumeric and meaningless to virtually everyone else on the planet. These I use for my network log-on.
If I need to remind myself of which one I've just changed to I only have to write down one of the alpha characters.

Many years ago Viz comic published this top tip:
"Save money on expensive personalised car number plates by simply changing your name to match your existing plate. - Mr. KVL 741Y"
For the Oracle log-on I use something similar (you know your own licence plate yes?), the "Mr" can be changed to "Mister", "Mrs", "Junior" and again you can remind yourself which one you're using with a simple note that tells you which member of the family it is.

NHS Supply Chain gave me an easy-alpha numeric, I just change the numeric. E.g. if you use 1234, next time use 5678, you only need to write down the first character if you know your own sequence.

For passwords which don't need changing I use an alphanumeric combination of addresses I used to live at a long time ago. If I need a reminder I use a city name.

Main points:
Use something that is alphanumeric
Something that is of particular significance to you
That is beyond guessable / non-dictionaried
(I knew a Kiwi who used Maori words)
Something that you cannot forget or can easily remind yourself of without revealing it

Step 2: Don't

-use your girlfriend / boyfriend / spouse / child 's name.
-leave passwords lying around
-share them with anyone
-write all of them down on a piece of paper / notebook which you keep on your desk
-add all of them to an Office document named "passwords"
-use terribly simple passwords like "password" or a repeat of the username

Comments

author
hintss (author)2010-09-05

9 passwords, ranging from 8 (VNC to servers(running GUI apps)), to over 100 (private key for ssh), and for important accounts, I use a password at about 50. oh, and I'm 13. and the 50+ one has letters and symbols

author
lemonie (author)hintss2010-09-06


50 eh, I guess you have a good way of remembering that one?

L

author
hintss (author)lemonie2010-09-06

its a sentence...about the other passwords. :D

author
lemonie (author)hintss2010-09-06


Nice idea.

L

author
hintss (author)lemonie2010-09-06

and the private key one is that one repeated. also, it took a week to relearn how to type it quigkly on dvorak. but yeah, I can type it in 9 seconds. all 52 chars.

author
lemonie (author)hintss2010-09-07

I am impressed!

L

author
hintss (author)lemonie2010-09-07

unfortunately, I used a netbook as my main computer for 2 years, so I get a really, really high typo rate on anything bigger or not dvorak. like so many typos that the typing is useless

author
hintss (author)lemonie2010-09-06

oh, and when I told my friend I how long it was, he went "how many threats ds you have??" my responce? A lot

author
lemonie (author)hintss2010-09-06


In fact, you've given me a 39 character one I could easily remember!

L

author
Kryptonite (author)2009-10-18

Yeah, don't use password lightning, with hint thunder. Like my little step bro. God I love his stupidity.

author
Foaly7 (author)2009-09-21

What about using a password that are the numerals for the number: One thousand, Two hundred Thirty-Four?

author
naruto 777 (author)2009-03-07

hey what a bout the password "password" pretty good right? lol

author
lemonie (author)naruto 7772009-03-07

(added)

author
NachoMahma (author)2009-03-05

. I worked with a guy that used transliterated Russian words that he would then spell phonetically + a few numbers.
. I've started using KeePass. If I can get in the habit of keeping it updated, I'll only have to remember one password.

author
lemonie (author)NachoMahma2009-03-05

It seems to be self-contradicting: "Because if you use only one password everywhere and someone gets this password you have a problem..." "You can put all your passwords in one database, which is locked with one master key or a key file. So you only have to remember one single master password" ? L

author
NachoMahma (author)lemonie2009-03-06

. The database itself is encrypted with a master password. If someone steals the computer1, they shouldn't be able to get to the passwords. As long as I don't forget the master, I'm OK.
. It is working very well for me. Easy to use. Will run on a USB stick. If you need a password manager, I highly recommend it.

1 Not likely. I'm a hermit with dogs and guns.

author
lemonie (author)NachoMahma2009-03-06

I'm sure it is good, I prefer to rely on my head. L

author
NachoMahma (author)lemonie2009-03-06

. Well, that's the last time I try to help out someone that has a long-held hatred for ice cream. LOL
. My rememberer doesn't work very well nowadays, so I have to rely on technology. Have they invented a bionic address book yet?

author
lemonie (author)NachoMahma2009-03-06

Ah, well I have to rely on technology too, which is why I don't want to lock myself out of it... Bionic address book, not yet I don't think You must be up late or very early? L

author
NachoMahma (author)lemonie2009-03-06

. Night owl. GMT-6 (two hours ahead of Robot) here.

author
gmjhowe (author)2009-03-05

I use a simple technique to make a password, i firstly make up a word, based on the phonetics of english.
eg, guatosion

Then i choose 3-5 numbers,
eg 19453

Then, i add the number to the end.

eg, guatosion19453

Finally, i take the last 2 or 3 numbers, and i hold shift while typing them.

So, i remember it as guatosion19holdshift453release shift

So the actual password would be,
guatosion19$%£

A final addition would be to make one of the letter caps, the first letter normally makes easy to remember.

author
lemonie (author)gmjhowe2009-03-05

Interesting - how do you arrive at guatosion? It's not necessary to explain in detail, but is this your own methodology, such that you can easily remember how it sounds and you know how to spell it? L

About This Instructable

958views

6favorites

License:

Bio: I'm an experimentalist, a scientist and I have a tendency to do things just for the sake of doing them, or to find out ... More »
More by lemonie:Multiple-secret book-boxHow to make fake cat-foodSkull Candy Headphone Modification
Add instructable to: