Passwords, and How to Manage Them


Introduction: Passwords, and How to Manage Them

About: 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 what they're like. I love life, show me something I can feel good about. I've got an ...

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:
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



    • Make it Move Contest

      Make it Move Contest
    • Oil Contest

      Oil Contest
    • Clocks Contest

      Clocks Contest

    We have a be nice policy.
    Please be positive and constructive.




    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

    8 replies

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


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

    Nice idea.


    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.

    I am impressed!


    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

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

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


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

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

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

    1 reply

    . 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.

    6 replies

    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

    . 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.

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

    . 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?

    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

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