One of the most annoying aspects of personal computing is the number of passwords that you have to have to do what you need to do. Every site has a logon procedure and every site’s password policy is different.
In recent years, password policies have become more stringent, offering you no choice but to create what is referred to as “strong” password policies. These policies usually require you to include at least one number or symbol and at least one capitalized letter, along with a minimum length.
So you think to yourself, “no problem, I’ll just use the same strong password at every institution i login to.”
Sure, that’s a great idea, if you don’t want to forget one password. But let’s look at that for a second. Imagine that you decided you’d like to have a spare key for your car located somewhere in every parking lot of every business you frequent so you would never be locked out of your car. Sure, it’s unrealistic, but for illustration purposes, humor me. Would you feel comfortable spreading your key all over the internet so others can use it?
Don’t be fooled. Not all website have the same standards and practices that financial institutions have and you may be signing up on a website where the administrator of the database has full access to the passwords once you’ve recorded them.
“so are you saying I need to have different passwords for all of my sites?”
Well, in a word, yes. “But I can’t remember that many passwords,” you say. Don’t worry, not many people can. The key to remembering your passwords is to develop a system by which you create your passwords. Besides, sometimes you don’t have a choice because they require you to change your password on a regular basis.
What would be a good system? Take a look at some of the passwords below:
stoneage – very weak
Stoneage – stronger
Stoneage1 – getting better
$t0ne@ge – strong!
Now, to make sure you don’t forget your password when you have to change it, just add a 01 to the end:
When you need to change it, increment the number at the end.
If you develop a system by which you create your passwords and learn that system, you’ll always be able to generate the correct password just by reviewing your system in your head.