How to Choose Good Passwords

Do you leave the key for your front door under the mat?

Do you leave your car doors unlocked?

The cyber equivalent of that level of security is the password “123456,” which is the number one password two years running according to Splash Data News. Click the link for the entire list.

Passwords that are obvious make them horrible protection. It’s like a hiding place that everyone would look.

Security is not an inconvenience for criminals. It’s supposed to  prevent them from getting in.

Here’s a few methods that will help…

One method that can work well is a password based on a travel route. Routes use numbers and letters and allow easy memorization. For example, from my house to school I go CV88092Ralston. That’s from Castro Valley on 880 to 92 to Ralston. Sure I skipped some streets, but I’m very likely to remember that and no one is likely to guess it.

Another method is sports players and their  jersey numbers. For example, M16R80 would be Joe Montana 16 to Jerry Rice 80. For younger fans, Madison Bumgarner to Buster Posey would be MB40BP28. Add the website name to change it for each site. So 16Amazon80 or MBYahooBP wouldn’t be easily guessed by anyone other than a serious San Francisco sports fan.

For nonsupport fans, other things can play a role in memorizing a useful password. If you want a Coach purse or Louis Vuitton Bag, use the model number or size. For example, 6CLKateR would be size 6 in a Christian Louboutan shoe style So Kate in red. Since those shoes are $700 a pair, you probably will have that as a password for awhile.  At least until next seasons styles come out.

Which brings up changing your passwords. It’s one of hardest things to do because you don’t want to remember all new passwords. But if you use a system, like travel routes, it’s easy. Simply go in the other direction. So CV88092Ralston turns into Ralston92880CV. Instead of going to school, I’m going home this year. Turn the baseball password around have have Posey throw it back to Bumgarner, 28google40.

Next year put a dash in after the first location, Ralston-92880CV. This would work for all of you passwords. Then the next year move the dash to the end location, Ralston92880-CV. Endless minor changes are possible that are easy to remember because they all change in the same way.

However, if this all seems a bit much, you can use software program that organizes all of your passwords for you. I use 1Password.com although there are others. I have over 200 passwords and my suggestions here fall short if I don’t want to use the same one on different sites.

So with 1Password I only have to remember one really long password and the rest is save in their vault for me to use anytime.  I do have separate passwords for all financial access, such as banking, credit cards, or investment accounts.

I still change passwords at least yearly. You should to along with your smoke detector batteries and updating your personal financial plan.

You might consider over the Christmas – New Year’s holiday because a reminder for changing passwords can be leaving milk and cookies for Santa who’s coming down the chimney.

If he can get in, you’re not safe, so change your passwords!

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